CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Public Schools announced Thursday that it will be requiring masks indoors for everyone when the 2021-22 school year begins on Aug. 30.
CPS is going with guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is is recommending everyone in schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
Dr. Alison Tothy helped make that call.
"The 12-and-under group isn't eligible yet, and they're not vaccinated yet, but they're at risk for infections," Tothy told CBS 2's Marie Saavedra this week, "and they're also at risk for transmitting infection to their loved ones and other children, and so we're trying to prevent that."
In accordance with that guidance, everyone will be required to wear masks in CPS schools – including students, educators, support staff, and school visitors – regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings can be removed for eating or drinking, and for recess and some sports activities that are held outdoors.
"Continuing to require masks will help make sure those in our school communities who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, which encompasses the majority of our students, remain as safe as possible," CPS said in a notice to parents.
CPS will also ensure that three feet of social distancing is maintained as often as possible – and when it is not, additional measures will be employed such as air purifiers, hand sanitizer, cleaning and disinfecting, contact tracing, and cloth face-coverings.
To help with social distancing, school lunches will also involve some students eating in classrooms, and others in the cafeteria.
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