US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the CDC can push for vaccination in schools, but it can’t mandate it – that will have to be a local decision.
“We can provide this advice, but we can’t mandate it at the federal level,” she told CNN’s John Berman on New Day Wednesday. “Those are all jurisdictional discussions and jurisdictional mandates. We are hoping that our advice will lead to more and more jurisdictions leaning in to get more people vaccinated.”
There are very few places in the country right now where enough people are vaccinated for children to not have to wear masks in school.
“I can imagine a situation where a school system might have all of their teachers documented and vaccinated, all of their children in a high school documented as vaccinated and very little disease in the community,” she said. “Right now, we don’t have a lot of situations that are like that, but I could imagine a situation like that, and boy, do I hope we get there.”
Asked what it would take for the CDC to say that they no longer recommended masks in schools, Walensky said, “I think if we see more and more people who are vaccinated, our children are vaccinated, we have full vaccination in schools, we have full vaccination in teachers, all of those are documented, we have disease rates that are low – I think then we can start thinking about how we can loosen up. And, you know, not seeing clusters and outbreaks in these school systems."
“If we have more and more people vaccinated, we will win in this race and the virus will be less transmitting and we will be able to lift some of these things," she added.