CDC Releases Guidelines on Safe Reopening of Schools –

CDC Releases Guidelines on Safe Reopening of Schools

Reopening of schools should depend on community transmission rates and should be a priority over restaurants and other nonessential businesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Friday.

Because it is important: American educators have been asking the health agency to issue clear and helpful guidance for schools, following mixed signals from the Trump administration last year.

The state of the game: K-12 schools should close only after all other mitigation measures in the community have been employed, and the first to reopen when they can safely do so, the guide says.

  • “Reducing transmission in schools is a shared responsibility.”

Four color-coded “zones” that reflect community transmission correspond to the types of instruction that K-12 schools can use:

  1. Complete in person
  2. Hybrid
  3. Reduced attendance
  4. Virtual only

Apart from masking and hygiene, the Department of Education suggests using cafeterias and auditoriums for classes, staggering bell times, and assigning one seat per row on buses.

  • Face-to-face teaching should be prioritized over sports or other extracurricular activities.
  • Districts with low-income students or populations with disabilities should have priority for in-person instruction.
  • Families of students at risk of serious illness may choose not to receive in-person instruction.
  • Teachers should be given priority for vaccination, but should not be required for reopening.

The panorama: The opening of K-12 schools is a subject of intense disagreement between teachers and parents. Teacher unions have become a prominent feature of the school reopening debates along with public anger.

  • Science still says that attending K-12 school in person is not a primary driver of community outreach. But when community rates of COVID-19 are high, it also increases the likelihood of infections being transmitted within a school setting.

Background: President Biden has vowed to reopen K-8 schools within its first 100 days, but the White House has faced challenges it did not foresee in December, such as vaccine launch delays and the emergence of new virus variants. .

  • In the meantime, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday after Biden pledged to have most schools open before his 100th day in office, that she meant more than 50% of them teach. at least one day a week in person.

Yes, but: The Biden administration’s bar may have been set too low, some experts say. Multiple databases nationwide that track school reopens show that 64% of elementary and middle school students are already receiving in-person instruction, according to data Tuesday from Burbio’s School Opening Tracker.

  • And several state legislatures like Virginia, Wisconsin, and Tennessee even took the reopening address into their own hands this month, fearful that if they wait any longer, there won’t be enough time to safely orchestrate in-person learning this academic school year.

What to see: Much of the supplies, testing, and infrastructure for ventilation depends on what Congress is willing to distribute among the states.


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