CDC Guidelines for Reopening Schools
This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an updated set of documents that outline guidelines on how to begin the process of opening child care centers, schools and other establishments. These guidelines come after calls from local lawmakers and state officials for the CDC to provide guidance on how regions should begin the complicated process of reopening local economies.
These documents outline steps that schools will need to follow in order to reopen safely. Districts will need to, at minimum, be prepared to implement coronavirus testing procedures, including evaluating employees and children daily for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure to the virus. Facilities will need to undergo more thorough sanitation, all staff and students will need to be able to social distance and staff will need to undergo further training on health and safety guidelines. The CDC also asks schools to first and foremost consider whether adherence to the agency's reopening guidelines is consistent with state and local stay-at-home orders.
In addition, districts will need to have plans in place should any staff or students develop the virus, as well as more lenient leave policies. Districts will be expected to communicate and collaborate with local health authorities. Increased communication with families, staff and local authorities will be necessary in order to monitor the number of cases that affect the district.
The decision to open will need to be discussed with local health authorities, and districts should work with these authorities to design procedures to keep both staff and students, as well as their families, safe. Further guidance can be found on the CDC’s website.