New Advice for Getting Kids Back to School

The American Academy of Pediatrics has detailed recommendations that call for distancing and mental health considerations

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readJun 29, 2020

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Credit: Godong / Getty Images

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released guidance for reopening schools. The organization says getting kids into the classroom is important, writing that “all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

The group says having kids in school is important for several reasons, including the fact that an extended period out of school can cause interruptions of supportive services — like special education programming and access to mental health providers — for many students. It’s also harder for schools to identify potential learning deficits as well signs of abuse. There’s also the issue of food security and physical activity among students.

The AAP says that while kids are typically a key source of spread for the seasonal flu, that doesn’t appear to be the case for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

“Although many questions remain, the preponderance of evidence indicates that children and adolescents are less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection,” they write. “In addition, children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection.”

Even so, the group acknowledges that Covid-19 prevention policies are “intended to mitigate, not eliminate, risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce that risk.”

With all that in mind, the AAP offers recommendations that put a heavy emphasis on physical distancing as well as cleaning and disinfecting. They also recommend paying attention to the mental health of staff. The recommendations are detailed and comprehensive, and you…

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Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that