As the Trump administration pushes full steam ahead to force U.S. schools to resume in-person education, public health experts warn that a one-size-fits-all reopening could drive infection and death rates even higher.
They’re urging a more cautious, flexible approach, which many local governments and school districts are already pursuing.
There are too many uncertainties and variables, they say, for back-to-school to be back-to-normal.
Dr. Tom Frieden is former head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
He says curbing COVID-19 activity in communities is the single most important thing that can be done to keep schools safe.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.