The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for children and their education. We know that there is a lot of misinformation. As a result, many parents are unsure of the best and most appropriate approach to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published new guidance for the prevention of COVID-19 in schools. A key recommendation is for localities to monitor community spread, vaccine coverage, testing, and outbreaks. This information will help guide local decisions on prevention strategies. Additional highlights from the CDC guidelines include:
- CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (ages 2 years and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of their vaccination status.
- The recommended time for isolation (due to a positive COVID test) and quarantine (due to exposure to COVID) period is at least 5 days.
- CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms. This helps to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread.
- Other important layers of prevention to keep schools safe: screening, testing, good airflow/ventilation, handwashing, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfecting.
- Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness. They should be referred for testing and medical care.
Overall, research shows that students benefit from in-person learning. Safely returning to in-person instruction continues to be a priority. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning, extracurricular activities and sports.