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'Stay The Course': Chicago Parents Divided On CDC Recommendation For Students To Mask Up For The Fall

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There are big changes from the CDC with how kids should be thinking about school this fall.

The agency said everyone from teachers to students from K thru 12, vaccinated or not, should mask up.

CBS'2 Chris Tye has the latest on both sides and where Illinois' governor is coming down on this.

New information from the CDC shows the Delta variant is much more contagious than prior versions of COVID-19.

It's leading to a big change in recommendations for school kids coast to coast. Recommendations but not a mandate.

As summer camps wind down, the conversation about fall classroom policy and whether to require masks in school continues to wind up. And the biggest push to mask up coming Tuesday.

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) recommending that all students, faculty and staff in kindergarten through 12th grade should wear masks when they return to schools this fall, including students who have been vaccinated.

The state of Illinois has followed CDC guidelines since moving to restriction-free Phase 5. But no word yet if Illinois will require school masking next month.

"There is no doubt that will weigh heavily on the decision I will make for what we should do in the state of Illinois," said Governor JB Pritzker.

"I would hope Governor Pritzker would follow our data here in Illinois and stay the course."

Lake Zurich parent Peter Demos wants to continue to be able to choose whether his kids have to mask up.

He said a more potent Delta variant isn't enough to require masks.

"I think if we saw higher mortality rates. If that started to turn, then I would say yeah, maybe turn and start redacting on the mask mandates," Demos said.

"The CDC's recommendation that they gave us in May was about a COVID virus that is not the same as we are facing right now."

Dr. Kadijah Ray is a South Barrington parent arguing schools and the the state should follow the science.

New data showing breakthrough case individuals with Delta variant can have as much virus to shed and spread as an unvaccinated person does change the conversation.

"I think Illinois needs to make a stand. And for at least the beginning of the school year require all the children to be masked," Ray said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said it is aligned with the CDC recommendations, but is not making it a requirement for Illinois schools at this point.

Schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago had already announced no masks are required this fall. CBS 2 reached out to see if the policy was being revisited but have not yet heard back.


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