Tuesday, December 1, 2020

RANDI WEINGARTEN: A blueprint to safely open schools | TheHill

A blueprint to safely open schools | TheHill
A blueprint to safely open schools

The United States has the sad distinction of having the most confirmed coronavirus cases and death in the world, which has kept many schools shuttered for instruction in person. Parents and educators know that our children do best at schools, where they can get support, and they worry that the lack of learning in person has hurt students in need.

Systems from New York City to the Netherlands have shown that, with the necessary protocols to prevent transmission, students can safely return to learning in person. But schools are not islands. Americans must summon the collective will to follow science both in and out of schools. If we can do this, we can allow children across the country back to schools for the second semester and then for enriched summer programs.

Reopening schools is vital for the health and education of our children. It is also critical for the economy. We all have a role in doing this safely. Our holidays will look very different this year as infections surge with hospitals at capacity. Our leaders must use every tool at their disposal to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and pass a relief package that includes funding for states, schools, businesses, and the Americans who now struggle with rents, nutrition insecurity, and student loans. It is why we need a national blueprint that has these objectives to safely reopen schools.

We must get the coronavirus under control. This will take a national mask mandate, a federal system for both testing and contact tracing, targeted regional closures of schools and restaurants, making sure our exhausted health care workers have everything they need, and a robust coronavirus vaccination program once it is proven as sound and effective.

We must place public health protocols in schools. We know what works, such as masks, hand washing, physical distancing, sufficient ventilation, electrostatic cleaners, and broad testing. These protocols are enabling CONTINUE READING: A blueprint to safely open schools | TheHill