(UNDATED) – On Friday, the John Hopkins Center for Health Security published a report urging states and school districts to let national research guide their decisions to reopen.
Forty-three states have made the choice to keep its schools closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, while others have set dates on when they plan to let schools decide if they want to resume in-person learning.
On Thursday, the CDC said schools, child care centers, and camps should not reopen unless they are able to implement COVID-19 screening protocols and evaluate employees and children daily for symptoms and prior exposure to the virus.
“First and foremost, the school systems will need to work with their local state and public health departments to determine what their risk to coronavirus in their community is,” said Dr. Sally Goza, director of the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). “They will also need to determine] what their access to testing is, and how the schools will be able to keep the schools clean.”
The CDC’s guidelines warn officials to ensure that COVID-19 numbers are low in the community before reopening, that a sudden spike within a school can be slowed, that social distancing and sanitation is up to par in schools, ensure that parents and teachers are being listened to, and ensure proper funding can make it all happens.
Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, said the world is learning more and more about the virus in children every day, but so far, the attack rate in kids seems to be low. And household testing suggests that the virus primarily passes from adults to children. Most experience mild illnesses, but some critical infections have been reported, and some children have died.
She said it’s important to understand how the virus is circulating in areas that have schools and that the facilities can practice physical distancing.