CHICAGO — The CDC released new guidance and tools for reopening the nation’s schools.
The new guidelines posted Thursday are intended to help school administrators open buildings, saying opening schools is important to support the child, not just their academic achievements. They note that children often get food, mental health care, speech language therapy and other services at school.
It says that wearing face masks, social distancing and keeping hands clean will help keep schools open. The CDC also wants limited contact, meaning children and teachers will work in small groups, or pods, for their health and safety.
It means developing a proactive plan for when a student or staffer contracts COVID-19, and to conduct contact tracing in the event of a positive case.
The guidelines do recommend that local officials should consider closing schools, or keeping them closed, if there is substantial, uncontrolled transmission of the virus.
“If there is substantial, uncontrolled transmission, schools should work closely with local health officials to make decisions on whether to maintain school operations,” they read. “The health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, staff and their families is the most important consideration in determining whether school closure is a necessary step,” the guidance adds.