(WTNH) — The Centers for Disease Control released guidance Friday announced states can advise students and teachers to head back into the classroom this Fall without masks – if you are vaccinated against COVID-19. What are Connecticut leaders advising?
Governor Ned Lamont said Friday, “Right now our guidance is if you are unvaccinated you should wear a mask indoors which means the kids should wear a mask in school.”
Governor Lamont is not quite ready to throw the masks away despite guidance from the CDC.
Lamont says he’s evaluating what Connecticut’s policy will be. Including, how they deal with the younger groups who can’t get the shot.
The governor added, “We’re going to look at that – look at the infection rate in each community – if not across the state to make a final judgment.”
Just Thursday, at a visit to Bristol Health the State’s Public Health Commissioner Dr. Diedre Gifford said less than half of the state’s 12 to 15-year-olds are vaccinated.
Dr. Gifford is concerned. “Now is the chance to get vaccinated. We don’t want to see those disruptions to sports, proms, graduations all those school events. That could happen if there are outbreaks in schools in the fall.”
Using federal dollars she said there will be more testing at schools in September.
Meantime, state health and education officials say “we strongly endorse and support the guidance’s emphasis on the importance of in-person learning, and on vaccinating the maximum number of students and staff eligible…and the importance of taking a measured approach when considering the removal of mitigation strategies based on local conditions…We will consider these…as we work towards the release of Connecticut-specific guidance for schools in the coming days.”
In addition to NO masks for those who have their shots the CDC recommends:
- Yes masks on school buses
- Three feet social distance in classrooms if unvaccinated
- Voluntary routine COVID testing once a week
And if students or education officials are unvaccinated they should still mask up.
One of the largest teachers unions says, “The new guidelines underscore the need for consistent prevention strategies in school settings, especially those with unvaccinated individuals, and strategies include mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, cleaning protocols, and adequate ventilation to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. “
Unmask our Kids CT – a grassroots group of 9,000 parents held a rally in Bristol this week. They’re pushing the governor to drop the mask mandate regardless of vaccination status.
Lauren Vermaglia, a parent who was protesting says, “It doesn’t feel as though this is about the safety of our kids; it’s kind of become a power and control issue.”
The Unmask Our Kids CT group is going to hold rallies at all of the Connecticut-run universities Saturday to not only protest the masks but the mandate to have vaccinations in order to enter campus in the fall.