AFT’s Weingarten on Change to CDC Mask Guidance
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for wearing masks:
“We welcome these long-needed new metrics for a safe off-ramp from universal masking. The CDC’s guidance is informed by science, not politics, and sets us on a path to a new normal in schools and other public places. By using an analysis of hospitalizations in addition to community transmission, school districts, in collaboration with educators, staff and families, can decide when to ease mask requirements—and we would urge everyone to apply it.
“We believe that our public health policies should be anchored in common sense, balancing the need to get back to regular life (using the pandemic-era tools that keep us safe—including vaccinations, boosters and ventilation)—with the need to continue protecting the immunocompromised and vulnerable. When we wrote to the CDC in November, we said many students and educators struggle with COVID-19 restrictions and are eager to find a way to end them.
“Some parents, students and educators will still choose to wear masks, and there should be no stigma for those who do so. We have a duty to protect vulnerable populations and their right to attend school in person, and there should also be a limited remote option for those who require it.
“Our healthcare members will appreciate concrete metrics to inform policy that reflects their frontline experience. These metrics will help us decide if masking up will become necessary again should we face an emerging strain. Everyone is frustrated and exhausted, but this guidance ensures trust and transparency, not politics and politicians, can return to center stage.”
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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.