Returning to School During COVID-19
For families deciding about the return to school, here are our thoughts:
Each family needs to start with their context at home.
Do we have high risk members and routine contacts?
Do we have the ability to do home, hybrid or “at-school” learning?
Ability is an expansive term - do we have the work flexibility, the means (time, support and mental resilience) to do a specific method?
What is my school/school district doing/offering?
How do schools locally adjust to our current conditions? What contingency plans exist for changes when COVID-19 illness increases? For example, in July 2020 the current rates of COVID-19 in the community make return to school in Texas (and Florida) problematic.
Based on your family’s view on the above considerations here is a summary of guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
-In school learning has advantages
-The role of children and adolescents in spreading COVID-19 appears to be low
-Children may be less likely to become infected and spread infection with COVID-19
Policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 with school must be BALANCED with the known harms to children, adolescents, families and the community by keeping children home.
How to Keep Schools Safe
-Clean/disinfect high touch surfaces
-Desks 3-6 feet apart
-Fewer students and staff in the classroom
-Reduce moving classrooms of students. For example, consider moving teachers to different rooms.
-Lunches at desks
-Use outdoor spaces
-Masks for all adults and older students
-Flexibility to go virtual during surge of infection
From the American Academy of Pediatrics - https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/