District 303 to review new CDC guidance on masks
St. Charles Unit District 303 officials plan to review the new guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all staff, students and visitors in K-12 schools wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC on Tuesday announced the new guidance to prevent the further spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 delta variant.
"We are in the process of reviewing the updated guidance related to K-12 school to see how it will impact our return to school plan," Carol Smith, the district's director of communications and community relations, said in an email.
District 303's school board recently decided to make masks optional for the upcoming school year. Students in the district will start school on Aug. 11.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced that it is adopting the CDC's new guidance. The IDPH has issued a statement warning school districts that "in addition to the health and safety reasons for following the CDC's guidance, school districts that decide not to follow the CDC's guidance should consult with their insurers regarding risk assumption and liability coverage. Insurers may be unwilling to cover liabilities created as a result of failure to adhere to public health guidance."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending all students, teachers and staff wear masks inside schools when classes resume to protect unvaccinated children from COVID-19 and reduce transmissions. Children age 11 and younger are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
District 303's plan recommends students and staff members who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks while inside. But masks will not be mandated.
Masks will not be required while students and staff members are outside when physical distancing can be maintained. All staff must wear masks unless they provide proof of vaccination or are enrolled in the district's screening testing program.