June 29, 2021
One of the promises the current administration made on reopening schools for kids was to ‘follow the science’. The most recent schools reopening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have sparked various controversies. There have been extensive reviews of the reopening guidelines, but the major highlights are two core requirements:
- Schools reopening should depend on the level of community transmission.
- Students should be well spaced (at least 6 feet apart) at all times.
Both guidelines and the others stated by the CDC are important. There are speculations that these guidelines could keep the schools closed for much longer. For instance, the first basic guideline is the level of community transmission of COVID-19. Higher levels of community transmission increase the risk of exposure in schools. Based on information obtained from a U.K. study examining COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in educational settings. The research aspect that focused on individual infections as against outbreaks showed no association between the level of infections in schools and the higher rates of community spread.
On the other hand, the 6 feet guideline requires that the kids always be 6 feet apart. This is from information from studies estimating the travel distance of respiratory droplets. More recent recommendations now put safe spacing at 3 feet spacing with masks. Apart from this, ensuring appropriate ventilation is important for school reopening.
Can Vaccination in Kids Improve Chances of Schools Reopening?
Unlike polio, MMR, and some other vaccines, the COVID-19 is not yet mandated for school children. In making a decision, health experts weigh the pros and cons of administering the vaccine. Children get the vaccine only in instances where the benefits outweigh the risk.
Although kids rarely show most of the extreme signs of COVID-19, they can infect older ones who are more vulnerable to the condition. Vaccinating kids help improve herd immunity which reduces community transmission.
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