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Local school districts say they will take new CDC mask recommendation into consideration for back to school protocols

CDC recommends universal masking in schools
Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 08:19:04-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Tuesday afternoon, the CDC announced they will recommend everyone, regardless of vaccination status, continue to wear a mask in indoor settings, including schools.

In a statement, Governor Pete Ricketts says the announcement furthers the distrust the public has of the CDC.

"The CDC’s new guidance suggesting that vaccinated people wear masks indoors flies in the face of the public health goals that should guide the agency’s decision making. The CDC announcement only furthers the distrust many have with the CDC and does not help to encourage more people to get the vaccines that are helping bring the pandemic to a conclusion. The State of Nebraska will not be adopting their mask guidance," the statement read. "Furthermore, I will reiterate my expectations for schools and universities in the fall. Schools should convene in person without mask or vaccine requirements. Nebraskans exercise personal responsibility for their own health and are encouraged to have a conversation with their doctor about the vaccine. These conversations will be important because the virus will be with us forever. Working together, we’ve successfully protected hospital capacity throughout the pandemic. It’s time for the CDC and the government to get out of the way, and to stop trying to tell people how to live their lives.”

Iowa's Governor, Kim Reynolds had similar sentiments to Ricketts, saying in a statement the CDC's announcement is counterproductive.

“The Biden Administration’s new COVID-19 guidance telling fully vaccinated Iowans to now wear masks is not only counterproductive to our vaccination efforts but also not grounded in reality or common sense. I’m concerned that this guidance will be used as a vehicle to mandate masks in states and schools across the country, something I do not support," Reynolds' statement read. “The vaccine remains our strongest tool to combat COVID-19, which is why we are going to continue to encourage everyone to get the vaccine."

Dr. Lindsay Huse says she agrees with the CDC and suggests universal masking, even in schools. She adds that she has been in close communication with local school districts regarding their return to learning plan and although her recommendation aligns with the CDC's, each superintendent will have to make that decision.

"It’s difficult because each school district has different needs and have different populations that respond differently to whatever the recommendations are so I would say superintendents know their families better than I do," Huse said.

Many school districts have told 3 News Now that they will take the CDC's and local health officials' recommendations into consideration. Some school districts like Westside said they are waiting to use the most updated information to decide their back-to-school plan but will release it soon.

Omaha Public Schools said they are working to finalize their protocols and are in regular contact with health officials as conditions evolve.

Bennington Public Schools has released a tiered plan that corresponds with the health department’s assessment dial. They have not reviewed the CDC guidelines yet but meet with health officials every week.

DC West Community Schools said they are still working on a plan.

Bellevue Public Schools' plan before the CDC announcement said masks were optional but strongly recommended for those unvaccinated. They had said masks may become required in any school or classroom that experiences a covid outbreak.

Papillion La Vista Community Schools said masks are recommended for anyone not fully vaccinated but protocols are fluid as they monitor the situation and take recommendations from health officials.

Gretna Public Schools said masks are recommended but not required. They added they will review the CDC announcement.