Child with face mask going back to school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

Schools (and the custodians that clean them) have another asset in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic after the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released resources to help them make the right decision about in-person learning as their local conditions change throughout the pandemic.

When coupled with local data about community spread, the  CDC resource known as "indicators" are an important tool to help local health officials, school administrators, and communities prepare, plan and respond to COVID-19, according to a statement from the CDC. These indicators are the latest resources the CDC has provided for schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they supplement previously released CDC guidance.

To make decisions about operational conditions, like beginning, continuing, or pausing in-person learning, schools in cooperation with local health departments must be able to monitor the local spread of COVID-19 and assess their own ability to implement prevention and mitigation strategies for students, teachers and staff. This new resource includes core and secondary indicators to help local officials and school districts assess their risk for COVID-19 introductions into and spread within their schools. The indicators reflect the mutually dependent relationship between schools and their surrounding communities. The measures do not set strict cutoffs for individual schools and school systems; they should be used as guideposts for monitoring local conditions and adjusting teaching models as needed.

Whether at higher or lower risk, schools and local officials are encouraged to use the indicators, existing guidance and other available information as they prepare for a return to or the continuation of in-person learning, implement plans for safer operations, and quickly respond to COVID-19 cases and threats.

For more on these indicators, read this information provided by the CDC.