teacher leads small classroom with kids wearing masks

In this special episode, we discuss the impact of school closures on children and families including suboptimal learning via distance, nutritional and behavioral challenges, the impact on parents, and more. We also discuss the experience in the US and elsewhere about the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in schools, the risk to students and staff getting infected. The new CDC guidance on opening schools is reviewed, which emphasize five main points: universal and correct use of masks, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, and rapid contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine in collaboration with the health department. We discuss all these recommendations, plus the role of vaccination of students and staff.

Note that the information provided was accurate at the time this episode was recorded, and that this is a rapidly changing situation.

This episode written by Drs. Lena van der List and Dean Blumberg.

Additional information:

CDC Operating schools during COVID-19: CDC's Considerations

CDC Schools and Child Care Programs: Plan, Prepare, and Respond

Healthy Children Safe Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kanecia O. Zimmerman et al Pediatrics article Incidence and Secondary Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Schools

Sharif A Ismail, MBBS et al Lancet article SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in educational settings: a prospective, cross-sectional analysis of infection clusters and outbreaks in England

Amy Falk, MD et al CDC MMWR article COVID-19 Cases and Transmission in 17 K–12 Schools — Wood County, Wisconsin, August 31–November 29, 2020

UC Davis Children’s Hospital Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for parents

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