Many schools reopen for the fall, and this time, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Frequent weekly screening, social distancing and masking, and many such strategies are addressed in these guidelines. CDC has also stressed that schools must reopen even if they can partially execute the guidelines.
Parents Must Know About These COVID School Guidelines Issued by CDC
One of the approaches from CDC has been appreciated, that is, decision-making responsibility has been given to officials in matters regarding vaccination coverage and community transmission rates. At the same time, many even criticized that state and local officials were not equipped enough to take these decisions.
Let’s see few common questions about the CDC school guidelines.
Is wearing a mask compulsory?
Though at least eight states have already forbidden mask mandates, CDC said that some schools may choose to require everyone to wear masks. Children aged 2 or older who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks indoors; fully vaccinated students need not wear masks in the classroom.
Wearing masks outdoors may not be essential as it is indoors except in limited circumstances such as in crowded settings and areas where local transmissions are considerably high.
Following Social Distancing
Students must remain at least 3 feet apart from one another in the classroom, says CDC. If schools struggle with space, then they must adopt other precautions, including frequent virus testing and improved ventilation.
Vaccinations –is it mandatory?
Currently, no mandate for vaccines has been made, but the rule may change over time. Now, children 12 and up are eligible for a vaccine. This leaves a majority of young students unprotected. Pfizer-BioNTech has been approved under emergency use authorization.
Dorit Reiss, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, said that states were unlikely to push the mandates until a vaccine gets authorized for students. CDC guidelines note that schools might offer “modified job responsibilities” for teachers/staff members who are not fully vaccinated and are at high risk of COVID-19.
How serious is the new Delta variant spread?
Delta variant of Corona has been dominantly spreading through the United States in recent weeks. The vaccines still provide good protection against the variant. But the variant will outbreak in unvaccinated communities. Children are far less likely than adults to become sick from the delta variant. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, a small percentage will develop a rare but potentially serious inflammatory condition.
Precautionary measures suggested by the CDC
Agency highly recommends a “layered” approach suggesting that schools combine multiple mitigation strategies for risk reduction. This is called the Swiss cheese model. Along with masking, distancing, and schools could put in effect regular screening programs and implement quarantine if they have been in contact with COVID infected person. CDC has stressed the value of fresh air by openings doors and windows or changing HVAC settings.
Can I send my child back to school?
Certainly, CDC’s new recommendations make clear that reopening schools is a priority, and schools should not be closed just because they cannot follow all the guidelines! Many families have been struggling with the remote instruction mode of schools, and children struggle to learn. Also, New York City Public schools, the nation’s biggest school system, will not be offering a remote learning option in the fall.
Even though there is a guideline from CDC, there is a lack of clear and specific guidelines that will emerge across the country. Many experts believe the local approach makes good scientific sense, but it comes with risks along with flexibility.
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