The Center for Disease Control released a document outlying the guidelines for reopening America after the coronavirus, detailing the new requirements for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
The CDC issued full interim guidance on how schools and other establishments can safely open detail the level of care and concern the CDC wants school officials to consider before reopening.
Talks of the guidance being published circulated last week and the CDC later published the extensive set of guidelines on its website without announcing the move.
The new extended guidance covers reopening schools, child-care facilities, restaurants and mass transit on the 60-page document published by the CDC on their website.
The CDC divides the risk of reopening into three categories: low, more and highest.
Low risk is limited to virtual-only activities.
More risk includes small, in-person classes where students stay grouped together and 6 feet apart. The highest risk looks more like classrooms pre-pandemic -- full-sized, in-person and with no spacing.
The CDC recommends sick students and school employees to stay at home, and those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms while at school should be moved to an isolation room.
Areas used by a sick person should be closed off until after they are cleaned and disinfected.
The CDC recommends this not happen until 24 hours after the building closes which means some schools could close down for at least two days.
The CDC encourages staff members and older students to wear masks or face coverings, the agency acknowledges face coverings may be challenging for students to wear all day and does not recommend them for children younger than 2.
Inside the classroom, the CDC says desks should be spaced 6-feet apart if possible and tables should all face in the same direction with students only sitting on one side, not face-to-face. Students should also not share items.
Playground equipment should be closed if possible or use should be staggered and the equipment cleaned and disinfected in between uses.
Students are encouraged to bring their own lunches and eat in classrooms instead of the cafeteria. Food that is provided by the school should be pre-packaged in boxes or bags and the traditional buffet style cafeteria serving system is discouraged.
As for transportation, the CDC says arrival and drop-off times or locations should be staggered by cohort or other protocols should be used to limit contact between cohorts and direct contact with parents as much as possible.
The full list of recommendations for school reopenings can be found on the CDC website under Interim Guidance for resuming schools and day camps and which it calls "ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19."
The full detailed reopening guidance can be found on the website on page 45 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/php/CDC-Activities-Initiatives-for-COVID-19-Response.pdf#page=45.