The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines for reopening schools, and officials said parents need to take the lead in working to keep COVID-19 from impacting schools.
The CDC also released a checklist including some homework for parents and an outline on what should happen if students get sick while at school.
In it, it said parents should check their children every day for symptoms.
While the guidelines do not recommend universal screenings be conducted by schools -- officials are strongly encouraging families to check students for signs of illness every day before sending them out the door. Students who are sick should NOT go to school, and that includes if your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.
Other symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If they have those symptoms, contact your school. Another recommendation: Parents need to make sure their children know how to properly wash their hands, as well as when to wash them.
The CDC said especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing and adjusting a face cover.
Talk to your child about precautions to take at school, including:
- Wash and sanitize hands more often
- Keep physical distance from others
- Wear a cloth face covering
- Avoid sharing objects with other students
- Use hand sanitizer
It also recommends making sure your information is current at school, including emergency contacts, that you are up-to-date with all recommended vaccines, and that you have plans for transportation.
Parents should also be familiar with COVID-19 testing sites in case their child develops symptoms.
Should a student develop COVID-19 symptoms while at school, the CDC said the student should be placed in isolation, then sent home or taken to a healthcare facility.
While a single case of COVID-19 in a school would likely not warrant closing the entire school, the CDC said if the transmission of the virus within a school is higher than that of the community, or if the school is the source of an outbreak, administrators should work with health officials to determine if temporary school closure is necessary.
Officials said parents should also have multiple masks, labeled with permanent marker, and kids should practice putting it on and taking it off without touching the cloth.
Since the school experience will be very different from before, the CDC recommends talking to your child and explaining that all these steps are being taken to keep everyone safe and healthy. It also provides information on stress and coping skills during the COVID-19 pandemic.