The American Academy of Pediatrics is clarifying their stance on reopening schools this fall, pushing for science-based decisions and calling on Congress to provide necessary federal funding for campuses to reopen safely.
The AAP, joining together with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, said they share the desire to welcome children back to schools this fall, however safety concerns must be considered.
“Returning to school is important for the healthy development and well-being of children, but we must pursue re-opening in a way that is safe for all students, teachers and staff. Science should drive decision-making on safely reopening schools. Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics,” the statement reads.
They go on to say a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate, given the nature of the pandemic across the country.
“We call on Congress and the administration to provide the federal resources needed to ensure that inadequate funding does not stand in the way of safely educating and caring for children in our schools. Withholding funding from schools that do not open in person fulltime would be a misguided approach, putting already financially strapped schools in an impossible position that would threaten the health of students and teachers."
The AAP released guidance last month discussing the physical, emotional and mental benefits of returning to in-person classes and offered suggestions for how districts could make safety plans. Including wearing masks, bringing lunch from home, keeping kids socially distant in classrooms and limiting classroom-to-classroom movement. Their guidance was based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidance kicked off a discussion on the national level about whether students should return to schools or continue virtual learning this fall.
Wednesday, President Trump said he strongly believes schools should re-open to in-person learning. The president also said he thought the guidance from the CDC was too high of a barrier to schools re-opening. The CDC announced Thursday they would not be changing their guidelines at this time.
CDC has outlined a number of strategies that schools can use to reopen safely. In addition to our guidelines, CDC will soon provide reference documents for parents, caregivers, & schools to help them test & monitor for symptoms & use face coverings. https://t.co/G6I4bXMGjr @CNN pic.twitter.com/rKP9cppXsB
— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) July 10, 2020