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Updated Back to School CDC Guidance Explicitly Emphasizes the Importance of In-person School for Children

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ,  As the US moves toward the scheduled start of the 2020-21 school year, the US CDC published several updated guidance documents to support schools in preparing for classes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of prominent US government officials, including President Trump, have publicly called for schools to resume in-person classes, but many state governments, school officials and teachers, and health experts warn that might not be feasible or safe in some circumstances. The updated guidance includes information for schools regarding the current understanding of COVID-19 risk to children and their role in driving transmission in the community and at home as well as recommendations for implementing appropriate social and physical distancing (including mask use), enhanced hygiene and sanitation, and disease surveillance and monitoring systems. The guidance also includes considerations based on the current level of community transmission, including the possible need to close schools due to uncontrolled community spread. In addition to schools, the CDC offers tools and information aimed at parents to help evaluate risk.

The updated CDC guidance includes a statement that explicitly emphasizes the importance of in-person school for children. Some media reports have characterized this as a push by the CDC to resume in-person classes during the pandemic, as it focuses primarily on the benefits of in-person learning rather than public health considerations related to COVID-19. The statement highlights the disproportionate impact of remote classes on lower-income students, racial and ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities or special needs as well as the importance of services schools provide beyond education that support these and other students. Notably, the CDC emphasizes repeatedly that the risk to students—including direct health risks to children and risks of spreading the disease at home—are relatively low in communities with low levels of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The statement largely focuses on the impact for students and does not fully address the risks to teachers, staff, and family members.

2 thoughts on “Updated Back to School CDC Guidance Explicitly Emphasizes the Importance of In-person School for Children

  1. Schools will reopen after the election.

  2. No thanks! I’m leaving my kid home.

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