Illinois Schools to Still Require Masks Despite New Guidelines for Vaccinated Adults

The CDC recommends schools continue to use the COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year.

second grader Ernesto Beltran Pastrana puts on his face mask in a classroom

Even though the state of Illinois dropped its mask mandate for fully vaccinated people Monday, masks will still be required in schools and daycares regardless of a person's vaccination status, the state revealed.

Adhering to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. J.B. Pritzker explained he is issuing an updated executive order that will remove the mask requirement for fully vaccinated residents in most settings.

Officials said unvaccinated residents should continue wearing masks in most settings, and residents should continue wearing masks on public transportation, in congregate facilities and in healthcare settings regardless of their vaccination status.

Face coverings will still be mandated at daycares throughout the state, according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the agency that oversees daycares.

In line with CDC guidance, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health will also continue to require masks in schools.

The CDC said Saturday it "recommends schools continue to use the COVID-19" prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year, just days after saying fully vaccinated Americans can gather indoors without masks.

Current COVID-19 prevention strategies for schools include the "universal and correct use of masks," physical distancing, handwashing, cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities as well as contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine.

Explaining its decision, the agency noted students will not be fully vaccinated by the end of the school year as children under the age of 12 aren't eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the updated guidance, unvaccinated individuals, which includes children under 12 years old, are still required to wear face coverings.

Additionally, the agency said schools may need time to make systems and policy adjustments before dropping the mask requirement.

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