As society begins to reopen, should schools as well?

Upon the novel coronavirus, the U.S. has debated over what education for students will look like. While most parents and teachers urge for a virtual switch, students and the federal government long for some semblance of normal life.

When public schools districts of grades K-12 faced making the ultimate decision during the summer break, they were mandated to follow their county’s public health orders, as the pandemic continued. Though there is no fitting solution, officials considered a multitude of factors, such as: school architecture for ventilation, technology accessibility for students, budget of supplying masks, installing extra preventative measures, and distributing food.

The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggested that school officials should decide “based on available data including levels of community transmission and their capacity to implement appropriate mitigation measures in schools to protect students, teachers, administrators, and other staff.” In addition to decreasing daily case numbers, the CDC reminded districts of prioritizing the students’ mental well-beings and considering how accessible a sudden virtual switch would be to the lower classes.

The CDC also mandates a series of minimum requirements to prevent any infections. Of August 21, 2020, they updated the “Schools Resources and Tools” information with added consideration for increased ventilation, food distribution, staggering audiences, screening policies, and improved coping strategies.

Over the U.S., the diagram below displays the counties’ orders of starting school. Red parts of the United States are labeled as locations where the virus is not contained, orange and yellow parts are allowed to open partially, and green parts are safe to reopen.

Sources: Harvard Global Health Institute, state government

While most of our country is in unconditional red states of urgency and emergency besides a few spared states, our country continues to learn adapt to this unexpected time.



Categories: Society