COVID-19 Back to School

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COVID-19 Back to School (Irwin Redlener et al., National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia Univ, August 2020, 5p)

Is it safe for my child to be in school?  “As opposed to what we thought months ago, children can carry the coronavirus, infect others, and become ill from COVID-19, although far less frequently and generally less severely than adults.”  New developments in testing, therapeutics, and vaccines “may change everything,” but the considerations presented here are in line with best practices as of late summer 2020.

To make the best decision, individual pages are devoted to:
  1. Your Child (many children will do fine with remote learning, but some will not, and your child may need access to meals and special services);
  2. Your Home and Family (is your home a good place for remote learning and quiet study, is there someone to assist with online learning, are you an essential worker, do parents have high risk factors);
  3. Your Community (is the outbreak under control, are most people wearing masks and respecting physical separation);
  4. The Politics (have leaders been honest in what they know and what is still unknown, are they ready to re-close schools if needed, is there screening every day on entry to school).   Concludes with a 12-point checklist of Recommendations for Schools (mandatory masks, strict separation in classrooms, no congregate activities, regular and thorough cleaning, etc.)

Note: Simply written for a broad audience.  Redlener is the founding Director of NCDP and Director of the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative.