Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency is expected to release guidance for school reopening this week, and she doubled down on her suggestion that “now is not the time to be traveling” as the nation continues to report more than 100,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus per day.
Walenksy, during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Monday morning, said the CDC would release guidance in the coming days so that schools across the nation can reopen “safely and well.”
“Most infections come into the schools through the community,” Walensky said, adding that “data suggests that very little transmission is happening within the schools, especially when masking and distancing are occurring.”
“Transmissions in the schools are because of breaching in masking and distancing,” Walensky said, adding that “the best way” to reopen schools safely is to “decrease community spread” and “keep up mitigation efforts.”
President Biden, during a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell, said it was necessary for children to return to school “safely.”
“You have to have fewer people in classrooms. You have to have ventilation systems that have been reworked,” Biden said. “Our CDC commissioner is going to be coming out with science-based judgment within I think as early as Wednesday to lay out what the minimum requirements are.”
Under the Trump administration, the CDC issued guidelines on school reopening, creating a five-tiered risk assessment. The CDC, in September, said that a school falling into a “medium,” “higher” or “highest” risk category did not necessarily mean that the school shouldn’t reopen for in-person learning, only that the school should use “alternative learning models” like hybrid learning.
Last month, the federal agency said in a report that there is “little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”
Biden has pledged to reopen most of the nation’s K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office, a goal he says is possible if Congress approves his pandemic rescue plan and if states prioritize teachers in vaccine rollouts.
Meanwhile, Walensky doubled down on CDC guidance, released last week, to avoid nonessential travel as cases of the novel coronavirus climb throughout the nation.
“Now is not the time to be traveling,” Walensky said Monday.
Walensky said that while the government is doing “more screening” where people are traveling, and while those efforts are helping to protect against “asymptomatic disease,” she said, “more gathering happens in airports.”
“First and foremost, I would encourage people not to travel,” she said.
The CDC last week issued guidance urging against nonessential travel amid the pandemic.
“CDC recommends that nonessential travel be avoided; however, for those who must travel, additional measures are being put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus,” Walensky added. “Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely and consistently used by all people in public settings.”
The CDC last week ordered that anyone arriving and traveling across the U.S. must wear masks, as well as at transportation hubs, meaning “any airport, bus terminal, marina, seaport or other port, subway station, terminal, train station, U.S. port of entry, or any other location that provides transportation.”
— to www.foxnews.com