AASA Statement to Guidance Released by the CDC and Ed. Dept. on Reopening Schools

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AASA Statement to Guidance Released by the CDC and Ed. Dept. on Reopening Schools

Today, Feb. 12. 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new guidance prioritizing masks and social distancing of at least six feet for teachers and students in K-12 schools as they reopen.  The U.S. Dept. of Ed also released its first volume of a handbook as a supplemental document to guide educators on masking and physical distancing.

In summary, CDC guidance reiterates that access to vaccines should not be considered a condition for reopening schools for in-person instruction. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky stated, "These two strategies are incredibly-important in areas that have high community spread of Covid-19, which right now is the vast majority of communities in the United States.” According to Director Walkensy, "Teacher vaccinations can also serve as an additional layer of protection atop masking, distancing, hand-washing, facility cleaning, and rapid contact tracing, plus quarantines for the infected.

 Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement in response to the CDC’s new guidance on reopening schools. 

 “Since the outset of the pandemic, AASA and the public school superintendents we represent have focused on the safety and health of our staff and students—always with an eye on and priority for safely reopening schools.

 “With the new year, new Congress and new administration, we are greatly appreciative of the deliberate, coordinated and focused federal leadership on both prioritizing the physical reopening of schools and supporting schools in their work to do so. We have relied on the science and data available. However, when we found that lacking, we partnered with our fellow national organizations and outside academics to create the National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard, a platform that provides data critical to informing school reopening while ensuring the data was available and accessible at the most local of levels.

 “Our data initially reported what has become only clearer—that it is likely safer for schools to be more open than they currently are, so long as appropriate mitigation strategies are in place. And to the extent that today’s sets of guidance address both of those realities—that schools can open and to do so requires mitigation strategies—it represents a strong step forward in helping more students return to the classroom.

 “As we near the one-year mark since our students left the classroom, it has become abundantly clear that our nation’s greatest assets—our children—are paying some of the biggest tolls for this pandemic in their physical, mental and academic health. We reiterate our call for additional federal funding to support the work of reopening, covering costs spanning from testing and ventilation to PPE and social distancing, and so many more things in between. We applaud the CDC and the U.S. Dept. of Education for the coordinated and collaborative effort to provide clear, actionable guidance that school system leaders can incorporate into their reopening plans.

 “We remain deeply indebted to the tireless leadership of superintendents and educators in our nation’s public schools and will continue to do everything in our power to support those schools already reopened and those still working to reopen safely.”

 


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