CDC recommends mask usage in schools this fall

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending staff, students and visitors wear masks at schools in the fall, regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC’s update comes less than three weeks after it recommended that vaccinated individuals could enter schools without a mask.

Dr. Matthew Denenberg, the vice president of medical affairs at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, supports the CDC’s update.

“Back when they made that decision to recommend people could take their masks off if they’re vaccinated, only 1% of population was of delta variant, and now we’re at 83%,” Denenberg said. “I think there’s been substantial change since they formulated that opinion, again, which I think is right thing to do.”

Currently, kids 12 and older can get vaccinated in the U.S.

“We know that children under 12 don’t even have the opportunity to be vaccinated yet,” Denenberg said. “So, the risk of them getting infected, the risk of them getting sick is higher and of course, the delta variant — we’re still not sure what it’s going to do or how it’s going to affect children once they get infected.”

News 8 spoke with parents at a little league field to get their input on the new guidelines from CDC. Most of the parents support mask usage in schools.

“They don’t even think about (wearing a mask) anymore, not really an issue for my kids at least,” said Laura Root, a mother of three children.

Her three children are under 7 years of age. They will be enrolled in Grand Rapids Public Schools in the fall.

“They’re too young to be vaccinated,” Root said. “I’d much rather them go to school and wear the masks than have everything shut down and have to homeschool again this year.”

A GRPS spokesperson says the district is reviewing the CDC’s guideline and will meet with officials from the Kent County Health Department regarding mask usage in the fall.

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