August 8, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to ease COVID-19 Recommendations in the coming days, starting with schools, just as students return to the classroom.

CBS News has obtained a copy of a CDC draft document outlining the rationale for the change. Although the changes aren’t final yet, they could include de-emphasizing the “survival test” strategy, in which students exposed to COVID-19 take regular tests to stay in the classroom. Schools will also be free to undo strict social distancing measures, previously directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Effectively phase out.

The revisions are also expected to be published to streamline and streamline a wide range of other CDC guidelines, including travel, health care settings, and settings for high-risk gatherings, such as nursing homes.

News of how the planned shift could affect the agency’s school guidance was first reported by CNN.

“This virus will be with us in the coming days, and we have to learn to live with it,” infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm told CBS News.

Michael Cornell, principal of Hamburg Central School in western New York, said his students need to get back to normal.

“If the CDC is going to say we should go back to school relatively normally, with minimal restrictions, then count me,” Cornell told CBS News. “We have to focus on making sure that our children feel joy, value, and connection at school, because these things were taken from them all for two and a half years.”

The proposed changes raise some concerns, as less than half of school-aged children are fully vaccinated, and the majority of Americans live in communities with high rates of COVID-19.

Among other changes proposed in the draft document is that those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and who are not fully vaccinated will no longer need to be quarantined, instead masking for 10 days and testing five days after exposure. In the draft, the CDC cites the large proportion of the population with COVID-19 antibodies, as well as a desire to reduce socioeconomic impacts, as reasons behind removing quarantine recommendations.

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer requires contact tracing after known exposures except in health care or high-risk gathering places, such as long-term care facilities and homeless shelters, the draft states.

Meanwhile, Osterholm said the virus is still evolving.

“As this virus continues to change over time, we may review these guidelines again,” he said.

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