CDC Recommends US Schools Continue to Use Masks

May 16, 2021 Updated: May 16, 2021

Schools in the United States should continue to use masks for the 2020–21 academic year as not all students will be fully vaccinated, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on May 15.

In its latest guidance, the CDC said all K–12 schools “should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.”

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A student wears a mask as he does his work at Freedom Preparatory Academy in Provo, Utah, on Feb. 10, 2021. (George Frey/Getty Images)

The recommendation comes after the agency said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places in a May 13 statement.

The CDC said masks should be worn at all times by all people in school facilities and buses, while maintaining a six-foot distance between teachers and students.

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Students sit behind barriers and use tablets during an in-person English class at St. Anthony Catholic High School during the COVID-19 pandemic in Long Beach, Calif., on March 24, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

In early May, U.S. regulators authorized Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12 years old.

By Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru