The Centers for Disease Control recently released their “Considerations for Schools” tool which contains recommendations for opening during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the information was made public, several concerned parents took to social media accounts with abbreviated posts that omitted key facts. The CDC reopening recommendations are worth reading. Read on to learn why it is important you read the suggestions for yourself and not rely on abbreviated social media posts for information.
The tool offers suggestions to ensure the safety of students and faculty as districts consider reopening. The checklist is anything but simple, and so we all should read it carefully.
Readers should keep in mind that the CDC is only offering suggestions: “Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”
The CDC recommends staff and students wear face coverings “as feasible, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.” The tool recommends children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or those unable to wear face coverings without help should not wear them. Online memes leave out this important information, stating simply, and inaccurately, “Wear face masks if over the age of 2.”
Likewise, the CDC suggests schools “Close communal use shared spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds with shared playground equipment if possible; otherwise, stagger use and clean and disinfect between use.” Some online memes have taken this suggestion text out of context, indicating that dining halls and shared playground equipment will all be closed.
Online posts say “No sharing of objects of any kind,” but the CDC only recommends schools discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect. The Centers recommend students avoid sharing electronic objects, toys, books, and other games or learning aids. The Centers also suggest schools ensure adequate supplies to minimize the sharing of high-touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., assigning each student their own art supplies, equipment) or limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of children at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
You don’t need to rely on abbreviated online memes and social media posts to understand the CDC recommendations, click on the CDC website and read them for yourself. However, keep in mind that the individual school districts and the State of Michigan have the last call on what schools will look like during the next school year.
O’Reilly Rancilio municipal attorneys serve as legal counsel to local school districts in southeast Michigan. Our attorneys are available to provide guidance for school districts and parents. For information, please visit our website or call 586-726-1000.