WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In an updated guidance document from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), key principles outlining school safety during the COVID-19 pandemic are presented.
Researchers provide guidance to support communities, local leadership in education and public health, and pediatricians collaborating with schools to create policies for safe schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the AAP, opening schools generally does not significantly increase community transmission, but mirrors community transmission. Key principles to be considered in COVID-19 policies for schools emphasize the use of science and data to guide decision-making and require taking measures to limit the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 throughout the community; using community-wide mitigation approaches; and adequate and timely access to COVID-19 testing resources. School policies should be adjusted in accordance with new information, and policies should be refined as necessary. A multipronged, layered approach is needed to protect students and staff; these layers can allow safe in-person learning. Strategies should be developed that can be revised and adapted according to the levels of viral transmission and the test positivity rate throughout the community and in schools. COVID-19 policies in schools should be practical, feasible, and appropriate for a child's and adolescent's developmental stage and should address safety of staff; special considerations should be made to account for the diversity of youth. School policies should be guided by supporting overall health and well-being, including behavioral and mental health needs.
"We know that some children are really suffering without the support of in-person classroom experiences or adequate technology at home," Lee Beers, M.D., president of the AAP, said in a statement. "We need governments at the state and federal levels to prioritize funding the needed safety accommodations, such as improving ventilation systems and providing personal protective equipment for teachers and staff."