CDC Releases New Guidance For Safe Return To Schools
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has unveiled a new plan to help schools reopen safely, replacing the "Indicators for Dynamic School-Decision-Making" instruction that had been in place since mid-September 2020.
"Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation" includes a number of indicators and thresholds schools can use to determine how easily COVID-19 is being transmitted in their community. After determining the degree of transmission, schools are encouraged to follow CDC recommendations for mitigation strategy, learning modes and testing, so that they're in the best position possible.
"Evidence suggests that many K-12 schools that have strictly implemented mitigation strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open," said the CDC in the executive summary of the strategy.
Mammoth in size, the CDC's operational strategy for K-12 schools is intended to help them not only reopen, but stay open through an "integrated package of mitigation components." A brief summary of the most essential elements of those components suggests that schools:
1. Consistently implement layered mitigation strategies.
2. Follow indicators of COVID-19 transmission in their community to determine the level of risk in that area.
3. Implement phased mitigation and learning modes based on the level of transmission in the community.
The CDC said schools can provide themselves with an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 by conducting testing for COVID-19 so that transmissions are more easily limited. It also encourages teachers, school staff and communities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
The CDC said any school that hopes to provide safe in-person instruction should use follow five key mitigation strategies. Those strategies include:
- Cleaning and maintaining a healthy facility
- Ensuring that all people wear a mask and use it correctly
- Performing proper handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- Contact tracing
- Practicing physical distancing of at least six feet when possible
Get a full look at the "Operational Strategy for K-12 through Phased Mitigation" here.
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