June 11, 2021

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CDC Considerations for School Operations During the Pandemic


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers updated considerations for mitigation strategies that kindergarten through twelfth grade school authorities can use to protect students, teachers, and staff members. and slow the spread of COVID-19.

These updated considerations for schools are intended to assist school authorities evaluating how to protect the health, safety, and well-being of students, teachers, staff, families, and communities:

  1. Promote behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19
  2. Maintain healthy environments
  3. Maintain a healthy environment for operations
  4. Preparing for when someone is sick

According to the CDC, schools should determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials – to the extent possible – whether and how to implement these considerations while adapting to meet the particular needs and circumstances of the local community. .

It is also extremely important to create strategies that can be modified and adapted based on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community and to do so by having close communication with state and / or local public health authorities and by recognizing the differences between school districts. , including urban, suburban and rural districts.

These considerations are intended to supplement – not replace – any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, or regulations that schools must adhere to.

Purpose It is everyone’s priority to prioritize reopening schools as quickly and safely as possible due to the large number of known benefits of face-to-face learning. To achieve this and assist schools with their daily operations, it is important to take steps and diligently implement them to slow the spread of COVID-19 within the school and in the community.

According to the CDC, the risk of spreading COVID-19 in schools increases as one moves from virtual to hybrid and then to face-to-face, and the risk in cases of hybrid and face-to-face education moderates based on in the range of mitigation strategies that are implemented and to what extent they are respected.

Although it is not exhaustive, this stratification seeks to characterize the risk of spread among students, teachers and employees in the different instances:

The lowest risk:

  • Students and teachers have virtual-only classes, activities and events

Some risk:

  • Hybrid education model: some students receive classes in virtual format and others participate in classes in person
  • Classes, activities and face-to-face events in small groups
  • Staggered and alternate schedules are rigorously applied, with groups organized into cohorts
  • Groups of students and teachers are not mixed each school day
  • Students and teachers do not share objects
  • Students, teachers, and other employees take all steps to protect themselves and others at all times, including proper use of masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene habits.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting tasks of frequent contact areas, organized with regular hours (that is, at least once a day or between uses) that are strictly adhered to

Medium risk:

  • Hybrid education model: most students participate in face-to-face classes and some do so through virtual means
  • Classes, activities and face-to-face events with larger groups
  • Cohorts are organized with alternate and staggered schedules, but with exceptions
  • There are some mixtures between groups of students and teachers from different days
  • Students and teachers share a minimum of objects
  • Students, teachers and other employees take all measures to protect themselves and others such as the correct use of masks, social distancing and hand hygiene habits
  • Cleaning and disinfection tasks of the areas of frequent contact, organized with regular hours, which are strictly observed

Higher risk:

  • Students and teachers have only classes, activities and events with the face-to-face mode
  • There is some mix of student groups between classes and activities
  • Students and teachers share some objects
  • Students, teachers, and other employees take steps to protect themselves and others at all times, such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and washing their hands.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting areas of frequent contact do not have a regular schedule

Highest risk:

  • Students and teachers have only classes, activities and events with the face-to-face mode
  • Students mix freely between classes and activities
  • Students and teachers share objects without restrictions
  • Students, teachers and other employees do not adopt / have no obligation to take measures to protect themselves and others such as the correct use of masks, social distancing and hand hygiene habits
  • Cleaning and disinfecting areas of frequent contact do not have a regular schedule

The most important steps school administrators need to take before resuming face-to-face services and reopening facilities are planning and preparation.

The best way to prepare for schools is to know that students, teachers, or other staff may contract symptoms consistent with those of COVID-19, and to know what steps to take when it happens.

There are several strategies that schools can consider to prepare in the event a person becomes ill from COVID-19:

  • Inform Home Isolation Criteria to Staff and Families of Students with COVID-19
  • Make sure staff and families know when to stay home
  • Isolate and transfer symptomatic students while at school
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Notify health officials and close contacts



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