Bay Area school districts monitoring Delta variant amid conflicting reopening guidance

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
School districts monitoring Delta variant ahead of reopening
Bay Area school districts are taking the Delta variant into consideration as they explore their reopening plans.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that all children over the age of two wear masks to school, regardless of their vaccination status. This contradicts the CDC's recommendation, which says students, teachers and staff who are vaccinated don't need to wear a mask.

This comes as the Delta variant continues to spread across the country.

Last Friday the head of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, made a powerful statement.

"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said Walensky.

Included among the unvaccinated are children under the age of 12, as the vaccine has yet to be approved for that age group.

RELATED: California backpedals after saying schools should bar maskless students from campus

Olivia Udovic is a mother and teacher in Oakland. Her youngest child turns 12-years-old in September.

"She has one month before she gets that vaccine," said Udovic. "Maybe we should just keep her home for that month just in case. But I think she's going to go."

The Oakland Education Association begins negotiations with the district tomorrow, but doesn't foresee any changes that might delay the start of the school year.

Classrooms in Oakland are equipped with air filtration systems and testing will be done on a continuous basis.

RELATED: CDC says vaccinated teachers, students can go without masks

Chaz Garcia with the Teachers Union says now it's crucial that we convince more people to get vaccinated.

"Have folks who are trusted in the community who have been vaccinated be able to connect with the community, I think is going to be important," said Garcia.

Today in Berkeley, a small group of protesters called for distance learning to stay in place for some families until everyone is vaccinated, a proposal that was rejected by the legislature.

"We're not going to give the districts the flexibility to do distance learning, that authority expired on June 30th," said Assemblyman Phil Ting who represents San Francisco.

RELATED: Return of indoor masking? Here's what Bay Area health officials say as Delta variant surges

In the meantime, as the Delta variant spreads, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends masks for everyone at school regardless of their vaccination status.

Oakland Unified and other Bay Area school districts already made that decision earlier this month.

"But we are working on ensuring that no matter what is going on with COVID that we are doing what we can to ensure that our families, staff, students are all staying safe," said John Sasaki, Spokesperson for Oakland Unified.

Oakland's first day of school is August 9.

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