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The CDC Just Released Some Considerations To Reopen Schools, But Are They Feasible?

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The CDC has released guidelines to have schools reopened. But, the criteria doesn’t seem feasible to some. More details inside…

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released detailed guidelines on how to reopen the United States, including schools, from Coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders. And the guidelines laid out to reopen K-12 schools in America seem impossible.

The CDC said schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. However, this isn’t going to be easy… at all.

Some of the guidelines are:

Students over the age of 2 will have to wear clothed masks/coverings during school hours. Any student who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance should not wear them.

Students will have to have their desks spaced 6 feet apart (when feasible) and all of the desks will have to be faced in the same direction (rather than facing each other) or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart. On the bus, kids will have to distanced (i.e. seat children one child per row, or skip rows when possible)

Students will NOT be able to share an items or supplies. It will be discouraged to share any items that are difficult to clean or disinfect. Students’ belongings should be kept separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas. To keep sharing to a minimum, each student should be assigned their own supplies/equipment or limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of children at a time that will need to be cleaned and disinfected between use.

Below are more recommendations on how students will navigate through the schools, how they should handle breakfast/lunch time, recess and more:

Physical Barriers and Guides

Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart (e.g., reception desks).

Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and children remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g. guides for creating “one way routes” in hallways).

Communal Spaces

Close communal use shared spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds with shared playground equipment if possible; otherwise, stagger use and clean and disinfect between use.

Add physical barriers, such as plastic flexible screens, between bathroom sinks especially when they cannot be at least 6 feet apart.

Food Service

Have children bring their own meals as feasible, or serve individually plated meals in classrooms instead of in a communal dining hall or cafeteria, while ensuring the safety of children with food allergies.pdf icon

Use disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes). If disposable items are not feasible or desirable, ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher. Individuals should wash their hands after removing their gloves or after directly handling used food service items.

If food is offered at any event, have pre-packaged boxes or bags for each attendee instead of a buffet or family-style meal. Avoid sharing food and utensils and ensure the safety of children with food allergies.pdf icon

Field Trips will be virtual and visitors to the schools will be limited:

Gatherings, Visitors, and Field Trips

Pursue virtual group events, gatherings, or meetings, if possible, and promote social distancing of at least 6 feet between people if events are held. Limit group size to the extent possible.

Limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as possible – especially with individuals who are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, county).

Pursue virtual activities and events in lieu of field trips, student assemblies, special performances, school-wide parent meetings, and spirit nights, as possible.

Pursue options to convene sporting events and participation in sports activities in ways that minimizes the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to players, families, coaches, and communities.

Students will no longer be able to change classes for different subjects:

Identifying Small Groups and Keeping Them Together (Cohorting)

Ensure that student and staff groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of children stay with the same staff (all day for young children, and as much as possible for older children).

Limit mixing between groups if possible.

Arrival and drop-off times will be adjust to limit contact:

Staggered Scheduling

Stagger arrival and drop-off times or locations by cohort or put in place other protocols to limit contact between cohorts and direct contact with parents as much as possible.

When possible, use flexible worksites (e.g., telework) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) to help establish policies and practices for social distancing (maintaining distance of approximately 6 feet) between employees and others, especially if social distancing is recommended by state and local health authorities.

If possible, students and staff will be screened daily:

Recognize Signs and Symptoms

If feasible, conduct daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening and/or or symptom checking) of staff and students.

Health checks should be conducted safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations. School administrators may use examples of screening methods in CDC’s supplemental Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open as a guide for screening children and CDC’s General Business FAQs for screening staff.

The importance of hand washing and other hygienic techniques will be stressed:

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Teach and reinforce hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff.

If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

Encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

You can read the full list of guidelines here.

Peep Twitter reactions below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you send your child back to school under these guidelines?


Photo: Shutterstock.com

 

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