Returning to school has created fresh worries for parents, administrators, and school staff. Schools must strike a balance between the educational and social needs of their students while providing them with emotional support to deal with the new normal.
In most states and districts, the reopening of schools and how they will be run will be decided by the locality, school administration, and the government. Some states are leaving the decisions entirely to local education management and leaders associated with policy decisions in the health-care sector.
Some school districts, such as those in Chicago and New York City, have a mix of online and in-person classes. Los Angeles and San Diego school districts and a few others want to hold all classes online. The federal government and the CDC have come up with clear guidelines for schools. However, the final call will be made by local administrations and officials. State governors have also announced rules that school districts must follow to reopen.
California’s rules do not allow schools to reopen unless the surrounding areas have seen a decline in COVID-19 cases for fourteen consecutive days. In states where cases are surging, such as Florida, the education commissioner has signed an executive order, making it mandatory for public schools to hold classes in person in August. Other districts are taking a more flexible approach. They are allowing parents and guardians to make decisions on the method of schooling (in person, online, or hybrid) they would prefer for their children.
Private schools, with their abundant resources, are ready to implement state guidelines and hence better placed to reopen sooner than public schools. With their smaller student bodies, these schools that cater to 10 percent of students nationwide can easily limit the sizes of classes for safer instruction. They also do not follow the national curriculum demands and do not face any restrictions of facilities like public schools do.
US policy makers are studying and analyzing the guidelines from five countries that have continued or reopened schools during the COVID-19 outbreak. They are China, Denmark, Norway, and Taiwan. These countries have successfully avoided the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
As of the first week of June, fourteen states made it obligatory for in-person instruction to be available in all or some grades either full or part time. Nine states had already mandated full-time, in-person learning for the academic year 2021–2022. The state-by-state map of where schools are opened or closed can be viewed here.
LA county has instituted its own plan to help limit exposure and spread of Covid-19 in Tk-12 classrooms. Some examples of their rules are:
The complete Covid-19 exposure management plan can be seen here.
If your child needs a Covid-19 test to return to school, Total Testing Solutions can help. Click here to schedule an appointment for a Covid-19 test at any of our testing locations throughout the Los Angeles area.