WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control is likely to advise that kids who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks when they return from summer holidays to school in the fall.
The CDC is “going to say that what you should do is everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing masks in school. That’s probably what’s going to happen,” Biden said at a town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, in response to a question about school safety from a concerned parent.
Children over the age of 12 who were able to get vaccinated “shouldn’t wear a mask,” Biden told the fully vaccinated crowd, but those who are not should be.
“It’s going to get tight in terms of whether Mom or Dad are being honest that Johnny did or didn’t get vaccinated,” Biden said.
Biden’s remarks come as COVID-19 cases are climbing in some states as vaccination efforts have stalled amid skepticism and disinformation.
Weary Americans emerging from a lengthy pandemic lockdown welcomed the lifting of mask requirements this spring and summer. Mask requirements became politicized early in the coronavirus pandemic, as then-president Donald Trump and other Republicans pushed back at advice from health officials that they stopped the spread of the virus.
Biden added that children under the age of 12 would be able to get vaccinated “soon.”
The CDC recommendations are not binding and school mask requirements will be decided on a district-by-district basis. To date, some have adopted more stringent requirements while others have none at all.
(Reporting by Heather Timmons and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)