Families express concern after CDC updates K-12 guidelines

The CDC states that K-12 schools can remain open and host safe in-person classes if their updated guidelines are properly enforced. Photo courtesy @cdcgov via Instagram

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated K-12 school guidelines in regard to physical distancing. The new recommendations entail maintaining at least a 3-feet distance in classroom settings.

Middle and high schools that are located in high case zones are advised to remain at 6-feet physical distancing if cohorting isn’t possible.

Danecia Nelson is a student at Florida A&M University. The Orlando native takes pride in being a big sister. She says she doesn’t worry too much about her brother being safe at his high school as far as sanitation and physical distancing go, because she knows the school will enforce those policies. However, outside of school grounds keeps her worried.

“The concern comes into play when they leave and exit off the campus,”Nelsonsaid. “Are they hanging out together in crowds? Are they wearing masks when out in public? Are they keeping their hands washed? Are their parents setting good examples for them as well? It’s just a lot of concerns on my end, but I understand that it is something that is out of my hands. I can only hope for the best when it comes to students doing their part in remaining safe and away from the virus.”

She says that families know what students are doing to stay safe at the school because they have to abide by the school’s rules and regulations that are set in place to continue attending.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 transmission dynamics are not the same among older students, which explains the difference in guidelines from elementary to high school.  This means that they are more likely to be exposed to and spread SARS-CoV-2 than younger children are.

Alexis Hamilton is a graduate student at Florida State University and a mother to a first grader. Although her daughter Nova has been virtual this year, as a parent Hamilton still has her concerns about in-person schooling during this time.

“I’m more so concerned with keeping the environment clean and teaching the kids to practice better sanitary habits. Three feet is not going to do much if they can’t wash their hands properly and touch everything around them,” Hamilton said.

Dana Dane is a parent of a high-schooler. She said that she didn’t know about the updated CDC guidelines or when they changed. She also mentioned that she didn’t  hear that news yet from her child’s high school.

The CDC also provided a list of instances that should remain at the recommended 6 feet of distance:

  • Between adults in the school building and between adults and students.
  • In common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums.
  • When masks can’t be worn, such as when eating.
  • During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, sports or exercise. These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
  • In community settings outside of the classroom.

“CDC is committed to leading with science and updating our guidance as new evidence emerges,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a statement on the agency’s website. “Safe in-person instruction gives our kids access to critical social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to succeed. These updated recommendations provide the evidence-based roadmap to help schools reopen safely, and remain open, for in-person instruction.”

For more information on the new guidelines visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html