The White House is urging parents to continue sending their kids to school in masks, even if local guidelines suggest otherwise.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether children should continue to wear masks at school even if their local officials have deemed it unnecessary.
She said yes, urging parents to abide by the latest CDC guidelines rather than those based on data at the local level.
"Given that the CDC guideline still remains that masking is recommended in schools," the reporter asked Psaki, "if you are a parent, a teacher, a student living in a state where that is no longer recommended, should you still follow the CDC guidelines?"
"Yes," Psaki responded, adding that the White House "would advise every American to follow the CDC guidelines."
Earlier in the press conference, Psaki noted that while "there are some states that are moving towards rolling back or giving more choice to local communities about how they will implement these requirements," the "responsibility" of the federal government is to abide by CDC guidelines.
She went on to suggest that whatever decision localities make, "no parent who wants to send their kid with a mask should be penalized; no teacher who wants to wear a mask should be penalized; or school district who makes that choice should be penalized."
On Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced that while federal guidance on masking has not changed, local leaders could make their own decisions, so long as they were backed by data.
Walensky gave no indication as to when the CDC would advise that children stop being forced to learn, exercise, and socialize at school with their faces covered.
On masking more generally, the CDC is "looking at the hospitals as a barometer of how they're doing locally," Walensky said, "so those decisions can be made on a local level and of course we at CDC will keep the public informed about our guidance and we will clearly communicate those recommendations to the public if and when they are updated."
When asked whether people should be listening to governors or the CDC when it comes to mask guidance, Walensky reiterated that the CDC has "always said that these decisions are going to have to be made at the local level."
The decision to keep students masked up at school has been controversial, with many parents, and even some children, speaking out against the practice.