Although the Disease Control and Prevention centers have received much criticism, the government’s top public health officials have been unequivocal about how school leaders can come back students to classrooms in a safe manner by implementing a series of risk-mitigation strategies that are built on top of each other. Higher vaccination rates among educators, staff, and eligible children are the gold standard for coronavirus safety measures. The more coronavirus safety precautions a school adopts, the safer the school is. The federal government has also allocated $190 billion to K-12 schools over the course of three assistance packages, among other things, to ensure that every student can return to school this school year.
School Districts Defy The CDC’s Safety Reopening Guidelines
In spite of the fact that approximately two-thirds of children in the United States returned to school this week against the backdrop of an extremely infectious coronavirus variant that is driving up transmission, infection, and hospitalization rates across the country, many of the country’s largest school districts were completely disregarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s long-standing recommendations.
According to the Center for Reinventing Public Education, an education organization that has been monitoring how school districts are trying to operate since the onset of the pandemic, 66 percent of large and urban school systems, including the 30 largest in the country, required masks for at least some students and 68 percent had policies on contact tracing. However, just ten percent of school districts mandated vaccines for school personnel, and only eighteen percent required testing for school districts.
A total of about 10 million children are served by the 100 school districts, which represents slightly under one-fifth of all public school pupils in the United States. Of course, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reopening recommendations aren’t legally enforceable. However, given that the vast most of the students in this country’s largest school districts had spent the last year learning remotely, Miguel Cardona, Rochelle Walensky, and Education Secretary CDC Director have conducted an unrelenting blitz in the lead-up to the new school year, highlighting over and over how schools can safely reopen and stay open, including vaccinations, masks, testing, tracing, and gooing (goosing).
During a discussion with the secretary earlier this week, Walensky said that the delta is more transmissible. Fortunately, vaccinations against the delta variation continue to be effective in preventing serious illness and mortality caused by this variant. Get your vaccinations and keep your mask on till further notice, is the warning.CDC safety guidelines are being promoted on the airwaves by Cardona, who has been traveling throughout the nation to attend vaccination campaigns for children and their families, visit youngsters’ first days of school, and speak at conferences. We know what works to keep kids and educators safe, even in the face of the uncertainty created by the pandemic and the Delta variant, he said this week. “We must adopt science-based methods for avoiding the transmission of COVID-19,” he said.
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During this time, parents, including those with immunocompromised children, have been screaming for in-person choices. As a result, according to survey results released Wednesday by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rand Corporation, the proportion of parents planning to send their children to school in person this fall increased from 84 percent in May to 89 percent in July. This is notwithstanding the delta variant raising case numbers across the country, including among children, the majority of whom are unvaccinated, according to the survey findings.
While some school districts have struggled to cope with outbreaks in recent weeks, others have seen their preparedness tested in spectacular fashion, as outbreaks forced thousands of students and teachers into quarantine, forced some schools to return to virtual learning, and delayed the start of the school year for others. This has been particularly true in districts with mask-optional policies and low levels of preparedness in recent months. To be sure, there isn’t a general lack of preparation across the country. It is a tactic that is holding some school district officials hostage in a few Republican-controlled states that prohibit school districts from requiring masks.
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