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New CDC Guidance for Schools Released Ahead of First Day of Classes

With the 2021-2022 school year approaching, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance. The new CDC guidance for schools presents a pathway to in-person instruction safely through consistent use of prevention strategies. K-12 schools hoping to return to 100 percent in-person learning could benefit from following these basic strategies for creating safer educational environments for all students.

Your Cheat Sheet to the New CDC Guidance for Schools

Promoting Vaccination

Many schools are unsure if they will return to 100 percent in-person learning. However, promoting the vaccination of students and staff is one of the most important approaches for schools to open safely five days a week. Schools should consider partnering with state or local public health authorities to serve as a COVID-19 vaccination site.

Consistent and Correct Mask Use

Due to not everyone being vaccinated, the CDC guidance for schools suggests that non-vaccinated students must wear masks correctly, over the nose and mouth, at all times when indoors and when physical distance cannot be maintained.

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Physical Distancing

The CDC said that schools in which not everyone is fully vaccinated should implement physical distancing when possible. This means maintaining at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask-wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated. It is also vital for schools to layer multiple other prevention strategies such as indoor mask-wearing, screening testing, hand washing, and regular cleaning.

Screening Testing

Screening testing identifies infected people, including those with or without symptoms that may be contagious. In K-12 schools, screening testing can help evaluate and adjust prevention strategies and provide added protection for schools. The CDC guidance states that fully vaccinated people do not need to participate in screening testing and do not need to quarantine if they do not have any symptoms.


Improving ventilation is an essential COVID-19 prevention strategy that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air. In addition, bringing fresh outdoor air into a building helps keep virus particles from concentrating inside. This can be executed by having multiple doors and windows open and adding a ventilation system into the building.

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Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette                                                              

Students, teachers, and staff should consistently practice hand washing and respiratory etiquette, for example, covering your mouth when coughing and washing your hands after sneezing. Schools can monitor and reinforce these behaviors and provide adequate hand washing supplies.

Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested

The CDC guidance for schools suggests that when students, teachers, and or staff show any signs of any infectious illness, they should be instructed to stay home and be referred to their health care provider for testing and care.

Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine

To keep schools COVID-19 free, schools should report, to the extent allowable, new diagnoses of COVID-19 to their state or local health department as soon as they are informed. Fully vaccinated people who come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 but does not have symptoms do not need to be quarantined or receive a COVID-19 test.

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Cleaning and Disinfection

The CDC says that schools should be cleaned at least once a day to remove potential viruses that may linger on surfaces. Schools should disinfect the space if a facility has had a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours.

Due to concerns about COVID-19, cleaning and disinfecting your school has become as complicated as a calculus problem. If you have any questions or concerns or would like our assistance, Imperial Cleaning is happy to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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