During last night’s CNN town hall, President Joe Biden shared that the CDC guidelines regarding mask wearing for students under 12 will “probably” change
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in all 50 states, particularly among unvaccinated young adults, it’s clear that the pandemic will not allow for a return to school that resembles pre-COVID “normalcy” this fall. With parents, teachers, and school staffers alike trying to navigate keeping students safe — all of whom under 12 are still not able to receive a vaccine — President Biden himself just opened up about the recent guidelines shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that stated vaccinated students can go without masks in the fall.
During a CNN town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday, July 21, Biden said he believes the CDC’s school guidance will “probably change” to suggest that all students under 12 wear masks during in-person learning.
“The CDC is going to say that what we should do is, everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing a mask in school — that’s probably what’s going to happen,” said Biden, who used the opportunity to encourage students of all ages who have not yet been vaccinated to continue wearing masks. “Secondly, those over the age of 12 who are able to get vaccinated — if you’re vaccinated, you shouldn’t wear a mask, if you aren’t vaccinated, you should be wearing a mask,” he said.
Biden did admit that enforcement is going to be challenging, remarking, “It’s going to get tight in terms of whether Mom or Dad are being honest that Johnny did or didn’t get vaccinated. It’s a matter of community responsibility and I think you’re going to see it work through.”
Though he didn’t clarify when the CDC will be updating their guidelines, his comments come on the heels of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that all people over the age of two wear masks in school ahead of the upcoming school year.
Biden seemed optimistic that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will give the green light for kids under 12 to get vaccinated “soon,” adding that scientists are looking into the safety of developing children, who might have different reactions to vaccines than their adult counterparts. “I do not tell any scientists what they should do. I do not interfere. So, they are doing the examinations now, the testing now, and making the decision now.” He insists the powers that be will make the decision “when they are ready” and have “done all the science that needs to be done — though at this point, it’s unlikely that any students under 12 will be vaccinated before the start of the 2021-2022 school year, making masks and safety measures of the utmost importance.