On Friday, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations for how schools operate amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to the agency’s website, the considerations are meant to help school officials make decisions that will reduce the spread of the virus, maintain healthy environments and operations and prepare for when someone in the school gets sick.
Last week, the CDC updated its considerations on things like ventilation, food service and students unable to wear masks. The agency also expanded its recommendations on how schools plan and prepare ahead of opening and added additional considerations on coping and support.
“These updated Considerations for Schools are intended to aid school administrators as they consider how to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, staff, their families, and communities,” according to the CDC.
The CDC recommends schools consider updating their ventilation systems or take other steps to increase the flow of clean air. Some of the steps include: Opening doors and windows when weather allows, using fans to increase effectiveness of open windows and making sure ventilation systems properly operate.
The agency recommends schools avoid all self-service food and drink options. And when feasible, it’s recommended that students eat outdoors or in their classrooms while adhering to social distancing, instead of in communal cafeterias.
Coping and support
The CDC also issued some guidelines in the realm of helping schools with coping and resiliency.
“Encourage employees and students to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about COVID-19, including social media if they are feeling overwhelmed or distressed,” the CDC recommends.
The CDC notes on its website that implementing the considerations should be done “in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible.” The agency notes that schools in urban, suburban and rural areas face different challenges.
“Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. It is also critically important to develop strategies that can be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community and done with close communication with state and/or local public health authorities,” according to the CDC.
All the CDC considerations are available here.