Schools to make changes to protect students from coronavirus, expert says

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Items such as masks and hand sanitizer will be familiar items in padded backpacks. Classes and school buses will have fewer people while some office meetings will be held by videoconference, experts said.

Although school districts will turn to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for guidelines, schools must prevent the virus from entering campuses.

Children with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable, and it is essential that people follow the rules to keep everyone safe, said Altmann. She shared other things that American schools need to address before unlocking their doors.

Reducing person-to-person transmission in schools will be a priority and educators will need to install smaller classrooms, close frequently affected areas, ensure constant hand washing and disinfection and avoid sharing supplies, a she said.

When students fall ill, they should be expelled from schools quickly.

“We have to test them quickly, diagnose, isolate and then trace contacts, which is much easier when there are fewer children they come in contact with throughout the day,” added Altmann.

It's time to throw the school calendar out the window

Experts also expressed concern over the consequences of the pandemic on children’s mental health.

“We are going to have an epidemic of mental health in our children in this country,” said Geoffrey Canada, president of Harlem Children’s Zone, during the town hall meeting. “… The poorest children, they know the people who are dead, they know the people who are sick. The very air you breathe, the people you meet on the street are suddenly dangerous to you.

All of this trauma is going to happen in our schools and classrooms, and we really need to prepare for it. ”

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