CDC Has Released New Guidelines for the Safe Reopening of U.S. Schools

Back in March, 2020, parents across the country suddenly found themselves helping their kids with school more than they ever thought they would. Working parents had to adapt to a work from home environment while getting their kids logged onto Google Classroom and Zoom. It’s been a whole new world.

While the hopes of kids returning to school this year were quickly dashed and even graduation ceremonies got canceled, parents held out the hope of their kids returning to school in the fall and life getting back to normal, or at least a new normal.

That new normal is what we (parents) have been anxiously waiting to learn more about. While a new normal in restaurants might mean shower curtains and bumper bars, what is a new normal in schools?

The CDC has released guidelines for the return of students to school in an age of coronavirus, and some of the suggested changes are pretty drastic. We’ll start with the least drastic, which is actually the safest option – distance learning. We’re talking about virtual classrooms, pretty much what we’ve become familiar with over the past few months; however, that is not the only way.

Here are a few other highlights from the CDC’s recommendations for opening schools:

A medium risk option includes the option of students returning to schools with quite a few changes. Desks need to be 6 feet apart and all facing the same direction. 

Students should eat in the classroom at their desk instead of eating in a cafeteria. Ideally, students bring their own food. If students get meals from the school, ideally, everything should be disposable (think, not on a tray but in a bag or box with disposable silverware).

Students and teachers should also remain in the same group throughout the entire day instead of switching classrooms. (We’re not exactly sure how that would work in a high school setting. Is the English teacher also supposed to teach Biology?)

Teachers and students wear face coverings while at school. Not only that, but the students’ families should be given information about how to properly clean face coverings. 

Hand washing should be taught at school, and signs should be posted throughout the school reminding students to practice social distancing and to wash their hands.

All high touch surfaces (think doorknobs, sink knobs, water fountains, etc) need to be disinfected every day. Ideally, students shouldn’t share anything (computers, markers, books, toys, etc). 

Do you think these are realistic expectations for schools? Would you feel safe sending your kids to school with these safety measures in place?