The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday released various virtual tools and guidelines geared toward assisting schools and educational staff around the country, as in-person classes are set to resume in the fall following the coronavirus outbreak.
The suggestions, which are listed on the agency’s website, are also designed to help parents make certain their children are as protected as possible by taking specific precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“With states, cities, and communities around the United States experiencing different levels of coronavirus transmission, jurisdictions should ensure appropriate public health strategies are in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the first step in creating a safer school environment,” the CDC said.
“Then, working in collaboration with their state and local health departments, school administrators can employ strategies that best match the local conditions and actions that are practical and feasible in their schools to help protect the health and safety of everyone — including students, teachers, and other staff,” it continued.
CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said it was vital for schools to reopen in September, but added there must be an increased sense of vigilance and practicality among students, teachers and administrators.
“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” he explained. “The CDC resources released today will help parents, teachers and administrators make practical, safety-focused decisions as this school year begins. I know this has been a difficult time for our Nation’s families. School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”
In addition to printable photos and graphics reminding children to wash their hands, the site included guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, a hub of communication resources, a checklist for students and parents to make sure they have the proper materials for the school year, and a page dedicated entirely to worker safety.
The CDC said that evidence showed a return to the classroom poses “low risks” to students and teachers on the whole and will give children the opportunity to bolster their physical and mental well-being.
“The best available evidence from countries that have opened schools indicates that COVID-19 poses low risk to school-aged children,” the agency said on its website. “Reopening schools creates an opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets — our children — while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families.”