DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - Hours after the CDC recommended indoor mask-wearing for students and staff K-12, Central Bucks School District leaders narrowly voted to keep masks optional for students in the fall.
Impassioned families and community members showed up at a scheduled school board meeting to make their voices heard ahead of the vote, which ended with a 5-3 decision.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its mask guidelines Tuesday for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread by those who have been vaccinated.
The CDC is now recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors again in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging and that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
"Unlike the alpha variant that we had back in May, where we didn’t believe that if you were vaccinated you could transmit further - this is different now with the delta variant. And we’re seeing that now, infection is possible if you (have been vaccinated and) are a rare breakthrough infection, that you can transmit further, which is the reason for the change," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
Central Bucks previously voted to keep masks optional for students and staff under the CDC's more relaxed guidelines issued back in May. The district upheld that vote on Tuesday night, leaving it up to the children to wear a mask or not.
"Folks seem to be eager to throw out the argument that if someone wants their child to wear a mask, ‘that’s fine, I won't stop you, but my child will not wear a mask' are some people in this community really that misinformed?" a concerned community member asked.
With a population of nearly 629k people, Bucks County is currently experiencing a 7-day average of 37 new COVID-19 infections. According to the county's website, the last reported COVID-19 death happened over a week ago and there are only 10 people in county hospitals with coronavirus.