CDC facing pushback on recommendations for after-school activities

No local district following new CDC guidance on ‚canceling ‘high-risk’ after-school activities

This suggestions comes after nearly every county in the U.S. has seen a high rate of transmission.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Amid surging omicron cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests schools across the country “cancel or put on hold” after-school activities like sports and marching band -- anything they deem a “high-risk activity.”

For the CDC, a “high-risk activity” is anything that increases your heart rate -- from singing, exercising and shouting to playing in the marching band.

But the CDC is facing pushback for the new recommendations, which advise hosting gatherings virtually, especially in high transmission communities.

At the moment “high transmission communities” cover just about the entire United States.

A map on the CDC website indicates that more than 99% of U.S. counties are currently experiencing high transmission. Duval County is listed as one of those -- with a 37.76% transmission rate.

The CDC gives football and wrestling as examples of high-risk sports school districts should cancel or put on hold.

But even some within the CDC are questioning the recommendation. One advisor, who has worked with the agency for four decades, called it “unlikely, unreasonable and unrealistic.”

So far, none of the Northeast Florida school districts are following this recommendation.

One of the only significant changes to after-school activities is in Duval County. After winter break, the district announced it was reducing sporting events to 75% capacity. Field trips and out-of-district travel are also suspended.

DCPS is also currently requiring staff and visitors to wear face masks. In recent weeks DCPS has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, causing significant staff shortages.

Also, last week, the Department of Health notified DCPS that it will end contact tracing in schools as well.

The CDC’s new guidance is for grades K-12 and they recommend vaccination, universal indoor masking and maintaining at least 3 feet of physical distance in the classroom to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.