CDC Drops Quarantine and Distancing Recommendations

Sydney Beard, Editor

The Center for Disease Control has drastically relaxed the guidelines for Covid-19, stating that people in the United States are no longer required to stay at least 6 feet away from others as it’s no longer an important method of reducing exposure risk. It has been recognized that about 95% of Americans who are of the age 16 or older have acquired some levels of immunity to the virus, whether that’s from vaccinations or past infections. The quarantine regulations for people who are vaccinated have gone away. “The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” said the CDC’s Greta Massetti, an author of the guidelines. “High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection and the many available tools to prevent to the general population and protect people at higher risk allow us to focus on protecting people from serious illness from COVID-19,” she said.

Some of the recent changes can be highly important for schools, even though some have scaled back their pandemic precautions before the CDC relaxed its guidelines. The “test-to-stay” recommendation has also been dropped by the CDC which says that students who are exposed to the virus don’t have to quarantine at home, and instead are suggested to regularly test in order to keep attending school. “The new recommendations prioritize keeping children in school as much as possible,” said Joseph Allen, director of Harvard University’s healthy building program. “Previous isolation policies forced millions of students to stay home from school” he said.

Some people argue that the CDC is going too far with relaxing the guidelines and regulations. “Allowing students to return to school five days after infection, without proof of a negative COVID-19 test, could lead to outbreaks in schools that could force entire schools to close temporarily if teachers get sick in large numbers, a dilemma that some schools faced last year,” said Anne Sosin, a public health researcher at Dartmouth College. “All of us want a stable school year, but wishful thinking is not the strategy for getting there,” she said. “If we want a return to normal in our schools, we have to invest in the conditions for that, not just drop everything haphazardly like we’re seeing across the country.”

People who are unvaccinated and are exposed to the virus are no longer advised to quarantine for five days if they don’t show symptoms. Although, it is still recommended by the CDC to use a mask if you are exposed to the virus. This guidance allows people to no longer disrupt their daily lives while still understanding that Covid-19 isn’t over.