WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has again updated its safety guidelines for schools after data showed hospitalizations of children due to the COVID-19 omicron variant rose.
After the latest update, school districts are struggling to adapt.
“The CDC is doing a disservice by changing its guidelines every nanosecond,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Weingarten said the CDC’s updated school safety recommendations are counterproductive.
“I think it just creates more confusion,” Weingarten said.
The AFT president said educators are focused on keeping everyone safe and kids in school. Despite the micro wave, she says more than 90% of schools remain open. But she said more had to be done.
“We need to prepare for unforeseen circumstances such as shortages,” Weingarten said. “We have more weeks of heavy sledding, so let’s give the quick tests to kids and educators. Let’s get people to use them.”
According to guidelines released Thursday, teachers, staff and students who contract COVID-19 can return to school after five days if they have not had a fever for 24 hours and wear a mask for another five days. The CDC also recommends that both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated employees be tested weekly.
Some school districts, such as the one in Chicago, are still choosing to return to virtual learning despite the new rules.
“Of course I want kids to go back to school,” said D-Ill Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin says he hopes better guidelines will encourage teachers and staff to return.
“I never want to put them in a dangerous situation when it comes to public health, but I want to put up with the experts,” Durbin said.
On Friday, the CDC strongly recommended that all children ages 5 and older get their injections and boosters if they are eligible.