JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was expected to release new guidelines next week on how to safely reopen schools, but in an interview Thursday with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said that won’t happen.
“I want to clarify, really what we’re providing is different reference documents. Our guidelines are our guidelines,” Redfield said. “It’s not a revision of the guidelines. It’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance that we put forward.”
So what exactly is in the CDC’s reopening guidelines?
The CDC’s recommendations are no more than six pages long including a summary and other resources. And that the CDC considers students returning to school a high risk.
The guidelines recommend installing physical barriers, like those planned for Duval County schools and that the Duval County school board estimates will cost $4 million.
Other recommendations include closing shared spaces like cafeterias and playgrounds. If that’s not possible, making sure there’s frequent cleaning between use.
It’s recommended that schools stagger arrival and dismissal times and make sure staff has flexible sick leave policies for when someone does get sick.
Guidelines that are very similar to the recommendations recently made by the Florida Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state.
“We used the CDC guidelines as a blueprint when we were moving forward with ours and then added the education knowledge to what the CDC said,” said Andrew Spar, FEA Vice President.
Sparr agrees with President Trump that these guidelines are going to be expensive to implement by next month but he disagrees with calling them impractical.
“The question is the risk associated with COVID, does that outweigh those other issues and that’s what’s tearing at the heartstrings of every educator in Florida. Paramount for a kid to learn and learn well is they have to be healthy,” Spar said.
The CDC emphasizes all of these guidelines should work in conjunction with each school’s local and state health departments.
Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran had already issued an order for schools in the state to reopen in the fall when the president made his intentions known.
Officials at Florida school districts say until the CDC provides the additional documents, they are in limbo while they simultaneously revise their respective reopening plans. Now, those reopening plans are required to be completed by July 31.
Florida school districts have until the end of the month to submit their required reopening plans to the state department of education.