CDC director says guidance on reopening schools to be released in the coming week

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release guidance on school reopenings in the coming week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Frid...

Posted: Feb 5, 2021 1:10 PM

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release guidance on school reopenings in the coming week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday, amid rising tensions about how best to send students and teachers back into the classroom.

"Among the things that we need to do to make sure that schools are safe is to make sure that the community spread of the disease is down," Walensky said during a White House briefing.

She continued: "We are actively working on the guidance, the official guidance, which will be released in the week ahead."

The guidance will come amid a national debate about when and how to reopen schools safely, as fear of spreading the coronavirus has closed them and forced classes online amid the pandemic.

President Joe Biden has said he will work to reopen most K-12 schools within his first 100 days in office but has stressed he will rely on health and medical experts to dictate the national guidance in order to reopen safely.

The White House initially distanced itself from Walensky's comments earlier in the week suggesting that schools could safely reopen without teachers getting vaccinated for Covid-19.

Walensky said during a White House briefing on Wednesday, "There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen. And that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Walensky was speaking "in her personal capacity" and that although Walensky was the head of the CDC, the agency hadn't issued its official guidance yet.

But on Friday, Psaki appeared aligned with Walensky's comments, saying vaccinations are only part of several mitigating factors that will help schools reopen safely.

"There are several mitigating factors that we've seen in data to date that will help make it safe," Psaki said in a White House briefing.

"Of course, vaccines are part of that, but so is masking, so is social distancing, so is ensuring that schools have the ventilation and the facilities that they need in order to do it safely," Psaki said.

Some teacher unions are resisting reopening some schools amid fears of teachers getting infected with Covid-19.

The Chicago Teachers Union has told its members to be prepared to go on strike if the school district retaliates for teachers choosing to continue teaching online, as Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson and other school officials say it's time to get everyone back into the classroom.

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, cautioned that reopening most schools within 100 days "may not happen," as the US continues to grapple with high Covid-19 transmission.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten has also said Biden's goal may need to be reassessed depending on how the coronavirus is spreading over the next few months.

More than 456,400 Americans have died from coronavirus as of Friday afternoon, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. About 35.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered, and about 6.9 million Americans have received the two doses of the vaccine.

Twenty-four states plus Washington, DC, are allowing some or all of their teachers and school staff to receive Covid-19 vaccines.

The President has signed several executive actions to help support reopening schools and establish a national strategy to get the pandemic under control. Biden is pushing Congress to approve another $170 billion for K-12 schools, colleges and universities to help them operate safely in person or facilitate remote learning, as part of his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package.

Congress approved $82 billion in aid for schools in December, which Biden has said he views as a "down payment."

This story has been updated with additional information.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 205154

Reported Deaths: 2730
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40141612
Washington26650247
Marion23258322
Clackamas18773234
Lane13777158
Jackson11420146
Deschutes994080
Umatilla851786
Linn551779
Klamath475377
Yamhill475079
Polk393755
Douglas379780
Malheur359763
Josephine353272
Benton324022
Jefferson235738
Coos215737
Columbia188829
Union148824
Wasco143429
Lincoln141221
Crook127623
Hood River121533
Morrow115216
Clatsop10318
Baker99315
Curry68510
Tillamook6604
Grant5487
Lake4667
Harney4239
Wallowa1945
Gilliam751
Sherman661
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3803094

Reported Deaths: 63204
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124643624433
Riverside3013294620
San Bernardino2990144788
San Diego2813133770
Orange2727455103
Santa Clara1199462177
Kern1106171400
Sacramento1073951723
Fresno1027951720
Alameda893401285
Ventura815721028
San Joaquin744191432
Contra Costa70358810
Stanislaus632661068
Tulare49758849
Monterey43804420
San Mateo42611581
San Francisco37197555
Santa Barbara34577460
Solano33625266
Merced32272474
Sonoma30688323
Imperial28800741
Placer23383299
Kings23170247
San Luis Obispo21411261
Madera16590245
Santa Cruz16206208
Marin14184229
Yolo14120212
Shasta12599232
Butte12586194
El Dorado10351116
Napa999580
Sutter9628112
Yuba646150
San Benito610263
Lassen577524
Tehama571663
Nevada488375
Humboldt443446
Mendocino428250
Tuolumne419970
Amador372147
Lake355645
Glenn242527
Siskiyou239037
Colusa227918
Calaveras220156
Del Norte14528
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7356
Modoc5344
Mariposa4647
Trinity4175
Sierra1130
Alpine890
Unassigned370
Medford
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 73°
Brookings
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 62°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 73°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 73°
Klamath Falls
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 65°

Tonight: Today was our first dry day in a while, although we can't rule out a stray shower or thunderstorm popping up in extreme northern portions of Lake or Klamath counties. Models are hinting that most of this should stay to our north, towards the Bend area. Any lingering clouds today will quickly dissipate by the evening. However, it could prove to be a breezy night in portions of Siskiyou County. Low temperatures will drop down to the upper 30s to low 40s in Northern California, the Klamath Basin, and in the Cascades. Along the coast and in the Rogue Valley, lows will be in the upper 40s to low 50s.

Tomorrow: Our Wednesday will be substantially warmer compared to our Tuesday. Relief from the heat in the form of cloud cover will be absent. High temperatures will be in the upper 80s to low 90s in the Rogue Valley and in Northern California. Highs will be in the mid 80s in the Klamath Basin, mid 70s in the Cascades, and in the upper 60s to low 70s along the coast. The breezy conditions in Siskiyou County from tonight will carry over into Wednesday, and gusts could reach 25 mph in some coastal communities as well. 

Extended: Thursday will be even hotter than Wednesday, and it'll just be a continuation of the stale weather pattern we're about to be in. Skies should remain clear for the forseeable future, and blistering heat looks to be in store for the weekend. We could be talking about high temperature in the upper 90s to triple digits in the Rogue Valley and Siskiyou County. Highs could be in the 90s in the Klamath Basin, in the 80s in the Cascades, and in the 70s along the coast.

Most of the beneficial rain that fell over the weekend was concentrated over the coast, meaning that drought conditions probably didn't improve much in the Rogue Valley and points eastward. As we stay dry and hot throughout the rest of the week, we'll be watching for the return of favorable fire conditions, especially in Lake County. The good news is that winds appear to be light towards the end of the week, which should limit the wildfire threat to some degree.

A FREEZE WARNING has been issued for our westside valleys in Jackson, Josephine and Curry Counties until 8 AM Wednesday. Low temperatures in these areas will fall down to near and even below freezing overnight. The coldest temperatures will be in the Applegate and Illinois Valley where temperatures could dip into the upper 20s. With widespread frost and possible freezing temperatures, be sure to protect and cover any sensitive plants.
Tonight: The clear and warm day will give way to a clear and mild evening. Temperatures for inland areas this evening will stay solidly in the 50s and 60s through the 8 P.M. hour, meaning this will be a near picture perfect evening for a barbecue or Wednesday evening walk. Overnight low temperatures will also stay more mild than recently, falling into the mid to upper 30s in our westside valleys with mid to upper 20s east of the Cascades. The coast will see temperatures staying in the 40s through the overnight hours. 
Extended: Beyond Wednesday, we'll see a very gradual and slow cooling trend through the rest of the workweek, but temperatures will remain above average. Easter Weekend will start off dry, but clouds will increase and by Easter Sunday, we could be looking at some chances for rain for at least parts of our region. We'll be keeping a close eye on this system and your holiday weekend forecast. It's possible wet weather could continue into next week with cooler temperatures.

Stay updated on the StormWatch 12 forecast on-air and online.

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