CDC Announces That Fully Vaccinated People Do Not Have To Wear Masks

With normalcy on the horizon, students express their views on the vaccine

The+vaccine+has+been+made+accessible+to+more+people%2C+after+the+country+made+it+through+the+tiered+system+in+which+vaccine+distribution+began.

Sruthi Ramesh

The vaccine has been made accessible to more people, after the country made it through the tiered system in which vaccine distribution began.

Sruthi Ramesh, Editor-In-Chief of LHStoday

On May 13, the Center for Disease Control announced that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks, which have been a key player in preventing the spread of COVID-19. A statement released on their website reads: “you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” However, it is still mandatory to wear masks in most hospitals, homeless shelters and airports, and on public transportation.

A key point to keep in mind is that for these new guidelines to be applied, one must be fully vaccinated. This means that it has been over two weeks since they received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must continue to stay masked to keep themselves and those around them safe.

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

In regards to a protocol for quarantining, if someone spends time with an individual who tests positive for the virus, they do not need to stay away from others or get tested, unless they have symptoms. Those who develop symptoms, even when vaccinated, should put on a mask and get tested right away.

Last month, the CDC released their first round of relaxations on mask regulations, stating that fully vaccinated individuals didn’t have to wear masks outdoors while in small groups. These new regulations are being released as scientific confidence in the vaccine’s efficacy increases. Vaccinated people are proven to be less likely to transmit COVID-19, and the vaccine is effective against mutated strains of the virus.

We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

— CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky

The vaccine has been made accessible to more people, after the country made it through the tiered system in which vaccine distribution began. Moreover, having multiple vaccine variations, and the recent availability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children aged 12-15, makes more of the US population eligible to get protected.

The incentive to get vaccinated is growing, from being able to go mask-less to corporate freebies; Krispy Kreme is giving out free doughnuts, many sports associations are giving out free tickets to live games, Staples will laminate your vaccine card for free—the list goes on.

What this means for the Wentzville School District:

Since the reopening of the Wentzville School District back in August 2020, the district has had a singular policy in regards to mask-wearing. In the first official comprehensive COVID-19 plan released, “Roadmap to Reopening,” it was stated: “Students are required to wear a face-covering when social distancing is not feasible.”

Those rules are still in effect, though many share the sentiment that students are becoming more lax about correct mask-wearing practices. 

“I’ve tried to keep it the same, but I think there is a lot more resistance now, than before,” said English teacher Mr. Eversole.

With these new guidelines for mask-wearing being released so late in the school year, it is uncertain if any changes will be made to the mask policy or if vaccines will be made mandatory for the 2020-2021 school year. 

“I think that it should be like any other vaccine,” junior Maddie Sanderson expressed. She is fully vaccinated, and encourages all who are able to, to get theirs as well. “You have to have vaccines to go to school, you have to have vaccines to do sports; I think it should be required like the others.” 

But others, like sophomore Lillia Clay and freshman Jackson Sehnert, are a little more skeptical on the efficacy and necessity of vaccines.

“It’s still relatively new and my mother is also still skeptical about it. I want there to be more research so that we can decide what’s best,” Clay said. Although not opposed to getting it in the future, she currently does not plan on getting the vaccine soon.

Sehnert also does not plan on getting the vaccine, saying “I guess they’re good, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily worth it. There’s certainly other vaccines that are good, but I don’t think that this one is necessary to get.”

As more students and teachers get vaccinated over the summer, the regulations concerning mask-wearing are likely subject to change or be refreshed. No official decision or announcement has been made, though it is possible for one to be made closer to the beginning of the next school year.

Though these new guidelines are a step towards returning to some semblance of normalcy, it is important to note that the CDC could change its guidelines again if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse.