• Thomas Parker

CDC guidelines for schools reopening emphasize in-classroom learning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines on Thursday for schools and school districts that are preparing to reopen with the new academic year is now just weeks away.

The CDC placed a heavy emphasis on getting students back into classrooms for in-person instruction. The guidelines detail the social, emotional, and mental risks of keeping students at home instead of in school, and outline the methods to resume in-classroom learning that include practicing good hygiene, disinfecting surfaces regularly, and social distancing students to limit potential spread of the coronavirus.

CDC also recommends repurposing unused or underused buildings and moving classes outside when possible, as well as keeping students in "pods" where the same groups stay together throughout the whole school day.

Schools should also have plans for what to do when someone gets sick, and to not necessarily to shut down the entire school if a single person tests positive.

This guidance sets up a clash with teachers unions, many of which have said they do not want to go back to work under present conditions and risk exposure to the virus.

Additionally, some of the largest school districts in the United States have already committed to operating remotely for this coming school year. President Trump, while announcing the guidelines, called those districts decisions politically motivated and threatened to pull their federal funding.

"I hope that local leaders put the full health and well-being of their students first and make the right decision for parents, teachers and not make political decisions. This is about something very, very important," Trump said.

"If the school is closed, the money should follow the student so the parents and families are in control of their own decisions," Trump said. "So I would like the money to go to the parents of the student."

The White House has emphasized that the guidance is only a recommendation and won't replace state and local decision-making. Interim guidelines on reopening schools have been available on the agency's website since mid-May.

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