The 2020-2021 school year brought no shortage of confusion and uncertainty with regards to COVID-19 in schools. Some schools were open, some were closed, and some offered a combination of online and in-person classes as the year progressed. With the 2021-2022 school year fast approaching or having already begun, many parents are hoping to understand what to expect regarding their child’s health and safety. This page provides an overview of coronavirus in schools and answers key questions, such as:
- Will schools open in the fall? If yes, when will kids go back to school?
- Is in-person teaching likely to cause transmission of COVID-19?
- As a parent, what safety precautions should you take with regards to kids and COVID?
- Are vaccines available for kids going back to school?
When Will Kids Go Back to School?
“Will schools open in the fall?” is a question on the minds of many parents and students. The decision to open or shut down schools is not mandated by any federal government agency, such as the CDC, which only provides guidelines on whether or not schools should be opened or closed-off to students. The final decision is up to local administrators. Therefore, whether or not your school remains open or closed is up to the administrators in your particular school district.
The same is true with regards to COVID-19 transmission prevention measures such as wearing masks and social distancing. The CDC may provide guidelines for coronavirus in schools, but the final decisions are always up to local administrators.
To clarify expectations for the upcoming school year, consider contacting your local school administrators to see which restrictions will be in place upon schools opening for the 2021-2022 school year.
An article from Harvard Medical School on the symptoms displayed by children with COVID-19 can be viewed here.
CDC fatality data grouped by age shows that those 17 years old and younger have the least amount of COVID-19 deaths of all age groups.
However, according to the CDC, children can still become infected with COVID-19 and spread it to others, such as their parents and/or other at-risk individuals. This presents a unique problem for communities. To detect COVID-19 infections early and prevent transmission from children to more vulnerable individuals, frequent testing for COVID-19 will be essential during the 2021-2022 school year. Additionally, parents, teachers and community leaders should make sure that they are up to date with information regarding COVID-19 symptoms and guidelines for what to do if you feel sick so that they can recognize potential symptoms in children or students.
COVID-19 Vaccines for Students and Teachers
Some vaccine manufacturers are conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials for children under the age of 12, but no vaccines for that age group are available at this time.
Teachers and administrators may also benefit from getting vaccinated and some school districts, like in Hawaii, are requiring vaccination for all teachers and staff or implementing weekly testing requirements. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Click here to view the official CDC resource on COVID-19 vaccines.
Although some uncertainty still hangs in the air regarding coronavirus in schools during the 2021-2022 school year, we are better equipped for this school year than we were at the beginning of the pandemic as we have been able to gain more knowledge about the virus and how best to combat transmission as the pandemic has progressed. By staying vigilant, testing for COVID-19 infections frequently, and following CDC guidelines regarding kids and COVID, students, parents, teachers, and community leaders alike can make sure the 2021-2022 school year is safe for both children and all other members of the community.
If you are an administrator and would like to bring COVID-19 testing to your school or district, we’re happy to help provide regular testing. For more information, see here.