With the summer just beginning, it is time for public schools to start weighing the risks and benefits of returning to in-person classes in the fall.

Most school districts, colleges, and universities across the country have been preparing for either virtual classes, in-person classes, or a hybrid of both, but have not yet announced how they plan to teach students in the fall.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has started to release materials for guidance in the reopening process, including a list of considerations for schools to take into account when reopening. Below, we have included a handful of the recommendations the CDC gives, but the full list is much longer and more detailed.

  • Close communal use shared spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds with shared playground equipment if possible.
  • Add physical barriers, such as plastic flexible screens, between bathroom sinks especially when they cannot be at least 6 feet apart.
  • Have children bring their own meals as feasible, or serve individually plated meals in classrooms instead of in a communal dining hall or cafeteria.
  • Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.
  • Broadcast regular announcements on reducing the spread of COVID-19 on PA systems.
  • Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.

In addition to the guidelines given, the CDC has also released a chart to help educational administrators determine whether or not they should reopen their school(s).

These are tough decisions that need to be made within the next several months, and extend to more than just schools.  The CDC also has guidelines for camps, child care, and youth sports.