CDC faces rejection of recommendations for extracurricular activities

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Amid rising omicron cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is suggesting schools across the country “cancel or suspend” extracurricular activities like sports and marching band — whatever they consider it a “high-risk activity”.

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

But the CDC faces pushback for the new recommendations, which advise holding gatherings virtually, especially in communities with high transmission.

Right now, “high-transmission communities” pretty much span the entire United States.

A map on the CDC’s website indicates that more than 99% of US counties are currently experiencing high transmission. Duval County is listed as one of them – with a transmission rate of 37.76%.

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The CDC gives football and wrestling as examples of high-risk sports school districts that should cancel or suspend.

But even some within the CDC question the recommendation. An adviser, who has worked with the agency for four decades, called it “unlikely, unreasonable and unrealistic”.

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

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

DCPS also currently requires staff and visitors to wear face masks. Over the past few weeks, DCPS has experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases, leading to significant staffing shortages.

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Additionally, last week, the Department of Health informed DCPS that it would also be ending contact tracing in schools.

The new CDC guidelines are for K-12 students and they recommend vaccinations, universal indoor masking, and maintaining at least 3 feet of physical distance in the classroom to help reduce COVID transmission -19.

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