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Can new CDC mask guidelines be enforced? Cincinnati educators doubtful

‘The monitoring would be very difficult.’
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Some public educators in Cincinnati worry new CDC guidance on mask-wearing in schools could create confusion and do more harm than good.

The CDC’s new guidance says fully vaccinated students and teachers don’t need to wear masks inside school buildings.

It isn’t a rule or a mandate; school districts are free to create their own policies on the matter. At this point, CPS has not made a decision on whether either way.

But through the pandemic, some districts have moved in lockstep with the CDC, creating policies that conform to newly released guidelines shortly after they are issued.

That has Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Julie Sellers worried.

“There are still too many students who have not been vaccinated,” Sellers said, noting the vaccines are still not approved for children under 12. “You cannot have different rules for people who have been vaccinated from the people who have not been vaccinated.”

Two bills are currently on Gov. DeWine’s desk that would prohibit some form of vaccine mandate.

Senate Bill 111 would prohibit any public or private entities from requiring a vaccine that does not have full FDA approval. House Bill 244 would do the same, but it only applies to Ohio schools.

The vaccines in use have emergency use authorizations from the FDA but as yet not full FDA approval.

Though neither bill is law right now, Sellers says the layered patchwork of COVID-19 rules makes things more confusing.

“That’s what’s really complicated about this, is that there area CDC guidelines, there are national guidelines, but each state is putting out their own guidelines, and they’re not always in alignment,” she said.

There is also the issue of enforcement. Consider a high school of more than 1,000 students, all walking in the hallways, some masked, others not. Is there some sort of vaccine hall pass or wristband? It’s unclear how that would work.

“The monitoring would be very difficult,” Sellers said.

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