CDC Updates Masking Recommendations for Indoor Settings and K-12 Schools

Last Updated: Jul 28, 2021

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines to recommend that individuals, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission return to wearing masks in public indoor areas. To identify whether you are in an area of substantial or high virus transmission, please utilize the CDC’s integrated county view data tracker on its website here.

The CDC states that these guidelines are intended to help individuals maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others. The CDC criteria for substantial COVID-19 transmission is 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days, or more than 8 percent of tests are positive for infection over that period. 

The most recent CDC guidance also called for universal masking for teachers, staff, students and visitors in schools (kindergarten through 12th grade) regardless of vaccination status and community transmission of the virus. 

What does this mean for Pennsylvania?

Individuals should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance. At this time, there is not a return of a universal masking order for Pennsylvania. States and certain localities may institute their own masking orders following the CDC guidelines if they so choose. 

Keep in mind that there is still existing CDC guidance recommending the wearing of masks in all health care settings. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) concerning COVID-19 precautions in certain health care settings. OSHA has also issued general industry guidance including mask wearing recommendation.

Additional Information

The CDC website provides additional information regarding COVID-19 guidelines here. The CDC continues to update its website as new guidelines are issued.

PAMED will continue to monitor developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and alerts members of additional updates. 

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