CDC’s back-to-school guidelines encourages learning in classrooms amid coronavirus crisis

The Louisiana Key Academy heads back to school with CDC guidelines implemented that could...
The Louisiana Key Academy heads back to school with CDC guidelines implemented that could possibly help future schools in Louisiana.(WAFB)
Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 5:58 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - With the start of the school year just weeks away and the COVID-19 pandemic still active, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its plan for schools and childcare programs to safely reopen and operate.

CDC Director Robert Redfield emphasized the importance of students going back to school in a classroom setting, despite changes such as the use of face masks and enforcement of social distancing.

Redfield said, “it is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall. CDC resources will help parents, teachers and administrators make practical, safety-focused decisions as this school year begins.”

Parents were also addressed in Redfield’s guideline announcement, stating, “school closures have disrupted normal ways of life for you and your children and they have had negative health consequences on our youth.”

When discussing the importance for schools to reopen in-person instruction, the CDC said schools “play a critical role in the wellbeing of communities” and “provide critical instruction and academic support.”

Additional reasons for reopening in-person instruction the CDC cited said “schools play a critical role in supporting the whole child, not just the academic achievement of students” because “social and emotional health of students can be enhanced through schools,” “mental health of students can be fostered through school supports and services,” and “continuity of other special services is important for student success.”

[ Preparing K-12 School Administrators for a Safe Return to School in Fall 2020 ]

The CDC laid out guidelines for K-12 school administrators on the use of cloth face coverings at school with specific recommendations for students of various age groups and learning abilities.

[ Guidance for K-12 School Administrators on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings in Schools ]

Universal symptom screening checks at the schools for all K-12 students are not recommended by the CDC.

The CDC said this is because symptom screenings will fail to identify some students who have the infection, and will identify only that a person may have an illness, not that the illness is COVID-19.

“Students who are sick with contagious illnesses should not attend school, but most illnesses do not require the same level or length of isolation that COVID-19 does. Excluding students from school for longer than what is called for in existing school policies (e.g., fever-free without medication for 24-hours) based on COVID-19 symptoms alone risks repeated, long-term unnecessary student absence,” the CDC said.

[ Screening K-12 Students for Symptoms of COVID-19: Limitations and Considerations ]

The CDC also laid out guidelines for K-12 schools to implement testing strategies in collaboration with state and local health officials to identify individuals with COVID-19.

[ AP-NORC poll: Very few Americans back full school reopening ]

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