The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Thursday issued a set of reentry policies for schools to follow, urging that all considerations for the fall should have the goal of students being “physically present in school,” despite a continuing rise in coronavirus cases nationwide.
In its “COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Reentry,” the AAP laid out its “key principles” for school reentry policies. They included, among other things, being “flexible and nimble in responding to new information,” and accommodating disadvantaged students.
“With the above principles in mind, the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the AAP wrote.
The AAP noted that children and adolescents were “less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe disease” resulting from a COVID-19 infection.
“Policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within schools must be balanced with the known harms to children, adolescents, families, and the community by keeping children at home,” the group wrote.
Officials in nearly every U.S. state ordered schools closed for the remainder of the school year in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Back in May, President Trump urged the reopening of schools throughout the U.S. as most remained closed to limit the coronavirus spread and protect the health of students during the pandemic.
Still, many of the nation’s school districts have yet to announce solid plans for the upcoming school year. The AAP’s urging came amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases across the country, with Texas and Florida rolling out new restrictions.
“COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, who had allowed businesses to start reopening in early May but on Friday shut down bars and limited restaurant dining amid a spike in cases.
More Florida beaches will be closing again to avoid further spread of the new coronavirus as officials tried tamping down on large gatherings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people were driving the surge.
“Caution was thrown to the wind, and so, we are where we are,” DeSantis, a Republican, said.
New York state reported five new virus deaths Saturday, its lowest reported daily death toll since March 15. During the state’s peak last April, nearly 800 people were dying every day. New York still has led the nation in COVID-19 deaths with nearly 25,000.
In the state of Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, put a hold on plans to move counties to the fourth phase of his reopening plan as cases continued to increase. But, in Hawaii, the city of Honolulu announced that campgrounds will reopen for the first time in three months with limited permits to ensure social distancing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.