A public high school teacher and Yale University researcher urge caution in reopening, recommending a list of minimum COVID-19 safety standards.
Recently we published an article designed for parents and educators entitled, “2020 School Year: The Most Dangerous COVID Spreader of All.” In it, we predicted that schools would form an ideal environment for the virus to spread. Therefore, opening schools to in-person learning before the transmission and severity of COVID-19 have been greatly mitigated by vaccine and/or treatments is extremely dangerous and will assuredly result in the spreading of coronavirus — not only to the people in the schools that open, but to the people in the homes and communities connected to those schools.
Since our article’s publication, the large number of COVID-19 outbreaks associated with school reopenings have shown our concerns, sadly, were well-founded. This essay, then, is designed specifically for educators, so you may keep your students, your staff, yourselves and your communities safe.
An effective idea from our first article is especially relevant here: Middle and high school students can be safely taught at home through virtual instruction, and the vacated middle schools and high schools can then be used for younger children so they are safely socially distanced. Those vacated middle and high schools would also be available for older students who might require a monitored environment or are unable to access virtual learning.
If this idea is not implemented, then based on what is known about COVID-19 viral spread, the following recommendations are essential for maintaining a safe learning environment.