The CDC expected to relax its COVID guidelines when children go back to school

The CDC expected to relax its COVID guidelines when children go back to school

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to relax covid-19 recommendations in the coming days, starting with schools, just as students return to the classroom.

CBS News obtained a copy of the CDC draft that outlined the rationale for the change. While not yet final, the changes could include less emphasis on the “test to stay” strategy, in which students exposed to COVID-19 take regular tests to stay in the classroom. Schools will also be free to relax strict social distancing measures, which the CDC’s guidance has already phased out.

Revisions to simplify and streamline a wide range of CDC’s other setting-specific guidance, including for travel, health care, and high-risk congregate settings, such as nursing homes, are also expected to be published soon.

News of how the planned shift could affect the agency’s school guidance was first reported by CNN.

– This virus is going to be here with us in the coming days, and we have to learn to live with it, says infection expert Michael Osterholm to CBS News.

Michael Cornell, superintendent of the Hamburg Central School District in western New York, said his students need to get back to normal.

“If the CDC is going to say we’re going to go back to school relatively normally, with minimal restrictions, count me in,” Cornell told CBS News. “We need to focus on making sure our kids experience joy, value and connections at school, because those things were taken away from them for two and a half years.”

The proposed changes raise some concerns, as less than half of school-age children are fully vaccinated and the majority of Americans live in communities with high rates of COVID-19.

Among other proposed changes in the draft document is that those exposed to COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine, instead masking for 10 days and testing five days after exposure. In the draft, the CDC notes the large percentage of the population with COVID-19 antibodies, as well as a desire to limit social and economic impacts, as the rationale for removing the quarantine recommendations.

Furthermore, the CDC will no longer require contact tracing for known exposures except in health care or high-risk gatherings, such as long-term care and homeless shelters, the draft said.

Osterholm, meanwhile, said the virus is also still developing.

“As this virus continues to change over time, we may revise these guidelines again,” he said.

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