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Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Kindergarten (K)-12 Schools

kids going into school

As the new school year approaches and we continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC has shared new guidance on how best to safely support in-person learning, sports, and other extracurricular activities for K-12 schools. To help provide you with the information you need, we’ve listed the key points and recent changes that were noted in these guidelines. 

 

CDC Guidance: 

  • Vaccinations are the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person learning and other activities are best supported by the vaccination of all those who are eligible. 
  • All those (age 2 and over) who are not fully vaccinated should wear a mask indoors. Correct mask use is especially important in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

  • To reduce transmission and risk, the CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms. When the 3-foot distance cannot be maintained, additional prevention strategies, such as indoor masking, should be practiced. 

  • Other preventative measures in keeping schools safe include: COVID-19 testing, proper ventilation, handwashing, effective respiratory practices, quarantining and getting tested when sick, contact tracing, and cleaning and disinfection.

  • If students, teachers, and staff have signs of any infectious illness, they should stay home and refer to their healthcare provider for testing and care.

  • For children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination at this time, the CDC emphasizes using multiple prevention strategies together to protect those who are not fully vaccinated. This includes students, teachers, staff, and other members of these households.

  • In areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels, the COVID-19 prevention strategies mentioned above are critical in keeping schools and their surrounding communities safe.

  • Community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks should be monitored by localities to help guide their decisions on implementing multiple prevention strategies.

  • Safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall of 2021 is a priority. Students benefit from in-person learning and the use of COVID-19 prevention strategies, whenever available, will help make safe, in-person learning possible.



COVID-19 vaccinations are the primary way we can help schools safely return to in-person learning. Since children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC wants to emphasize the use of multiple prevention strategies in schools whenever possible. This guidance is intended to give schools a flexible, science-based approach to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep students, teachers, and staff healthy and in the classroom. 

 

Vaccine Approval for Children Under the Age of 12

 

As COVID-19 vaccine research continues, we’re monitoring and preparing for the expected announcement of vaccine eligibility for those under the age of 12. When that vaccine approval is granted, we’ll let our Rite Aid customers know as soon as our pharmacists are able to start administering shots. As always we’re here to help answer any questions you might have. 


To schedule a COVID-19 appointment for anyone 12 years and older, visit our COVID-19 vaccine page.