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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines on Thursday, stressing the "importance of reopening America's schools this fall," saying K-12 schools are "an important part of the infrastructure of communities and play a critical role in supporting the whole child."
Why it matters: The reopening of schools has become a major debate in the U.S. as both parents and government officials weigh the pros and cons. The role that children play in spreading the novel coronavirus is still not known, but the CDC notes that death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults.
What they're saying: The guidelines focus on the mental, social and emotional risks associated with keeping students out of the physical classroom. The CDC provided broad direction for schools, saying they should focus on hygiene, disinfecting surfaces and social distancing.
"Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults. At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant. Further, the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms low-income and minority children and those living with disabilities."— CDC's statement
The CDC recommends:
- Repurposing unused or underutilized buildings or moving classes outside.
- Keeping students in "pods" so they are in the same groups throughout the day.
- A plan in the case a student or teacher contracts the virus.
- Coordination with state health departments to conduct case training if there is a positive case.