CDC head: Vaccines ‘not a prerequisite’ for opening schools

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BOSTON (SHNS) – Vaccinating teachers against COVID-19 is “not a prerequisite” for reopening schools, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday.

“There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” Walensky said during a briefing by the White House’s COVID-19 response team.

Early education and K-12 teachers in Massachusetts are not yet eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and school administrators and unions have been have been calling for earlier access. Gov. Charlie Baker for months has been urging schools to bring their students back into classrooms, and on Thursday was scheduled for a trip to Salem to visit the Bentley Academy Innovation School, where students are learning in-person.

“The latest finding from the CDC that schools are safe, do not contribute to significant virus spreading and that vaccinating teachers is not required to safely reopen schools is consistent with everything the Baker-Polito Administration has recommended for school districts since the Department issued the reopening guidance last summer,” said Colleen Quinn, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Education.

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