Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Responds to Updated CDC Guidance

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that updates masking guidelines:

“When science and evidence speak, we listen. The CDC has issued this indoor mask guidance as a result of the troubling surge of COVID-19 delta variant cases in unvaccinated communities and evidence of transmissibility of the delta variant, even by vaccinated people. Thankfully, the research still demonstrates vaccine effectiveness against serious illness, and it remains the single most important tool to prevent severe COVID-19 cases.

“Wearing masks inside schools regardless of vaccine status is required to deal with the changing realities of virus transmission. It is a necessary precaution until children under 12 can receive a COVID-19 vaccination and more Americans 12 and older get vaccinated.

“We continue to be concerned about this variant, but our No. 1 priority remains a safe in-person school year in schools that can stay open. Given the new evidence, that means requiring everyone in school buildings to wear masks, and that’s what we’ll work with our school communities to do.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.