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April 13, 2023
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report claiming that a single unvaccinated and unmasked teacher in Marin County, California infected half of her students and caused a community-wide COVID-19 outbreak.
The incident occurred in May, prior to the rise of the Delta variant. The report reads, “The teacher read aloud unmasked to the class despite school requirements to mask while indoors. Beginning May 23, additional cases of COVID-19 were reported among other staff members, students, parents, and siblings connected to the school.”
The CDC continues to explain the Marin County Public Health department’s investigation, which “initiated case investigation and contact tracing that included whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of available specimens. A total of 27 cases were identified, including that of the teacher.
During May 23–26, among the teacher’s 24 students, 22 students, all ineligible for vaccination because of age, received testing for SARS-CoV-2; 12 received positive test results.” In July, California decided to mandate masks for all students, regardless of vaccination status. At the time, the CDC’s guidelines suggested the opposite, as they encouraged schools to resume in-person learning, suggesting vaccinated students and teachers do not need to wear masks.
Updated guidelines read, “CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask-wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk.”
The CDC suggests implementing screening testing, increased classroom ventilation, and contact tracing. Three weeks later, the CDC reversed its decision and amended its guidelines to recommend that all students and teachers wear masks whether they are vaccinated or not. At the conclusion of its report, the CDC suggests the case proves the necessity of masks in the classroom and the vitality of the COVID-19 vaccine.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LA TIMES