These Are the CDC’s Updated Guidelines For Reopening Schools

These Are the CDC’s Updated Guidelines for Reopening Schools in the Fall

They offer broad guidance on how schools can safely return to in-person learning.
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July 24, 2020
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On Thursday, July 23 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their long-awaited guidelines for reopening schools in the fall. Like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), they placed a heavy emphasis on getting kids back to in-person classes.

The guidelines look at the social, emotional and mental risks of keeping students at home and state that “schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities and play a critical role in supporting the whole child, not just their academic achievement.”

The CDC broadly states that in order to open schools administrators must encourage everyone to practice preventive behaviours, such as social distancing in age-appropriate ways, using facial coverings, practicing hand hygiene and disinfecting frequently. The guidelines also say that schools should have a plan in place‚ including conducting case tracing, if someone gets sick. They also recommend holding classes outside whenever possible, using unused or underused buildings and keeping students in “pods,” where they interact with the same group throughout the day. Another key factor? Educating parents and caregivers on the importance of monitoring for and responding to the symptoms of COVID-19.

While maintaining the importance of a return to in-person schooling, the guidelines also address the increased risk involved for certain children, such as those with underlying conditions, certain neurological conditions or congenital heart disease. In these situations, the CDC says parents should weigh the health risks against the emotional risks of not providing in-person instruction.

“Parents, guardians, and caregivers should weigh the relative health risks of COVID-19 transmission from in-person instruction against the educational, social-behavioral, and emotional risks of providing no in-person instruction when deciding between these two options,” the guidelines say, adding, “If you, your child, or a household member are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, you will need to weigh the benefits, risks, and feasibility of the educational options available.”

The guidelines come after some of the biggest school districts in the country have already refused to open in-person schools. Meanwhile, some schools are worried they may not be able to meet the additional needs required to safely open, such as adding extra buses to maintain social distancing, providing adequate amounts of hand sanitizer and having several copies of materials so students don’t need to share.

The CDC emphasizes that their guidelines are meant to supplement, not replace, any state and local regulations.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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