To reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and maximize the amount of in-person instruction, schools need sufficient resources as well as adhered-to, strongstate and local public health measures.Extraordinaryeffortsby states, districts, and schoolshavebeen underway tosupport studentsthroughout the pandemic.TheCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) areproviding recommendations and considerations based on the most recent scientific evidenceto support school and district leaders and educators in meeting theseever evolving, significantchallenges.
Consistent implementationofmitigation strategiesduring all school-related activities is critical for reopening schools and keeping them open. To that end,ED is releasing theCOVID-19 Handbook, which provides strategies to do this andalso identifies ways to promote equity for communities of color and people with disabilities/chronic conditions who have borne a disproportionate burden of illness and serious outcomes from COVID-19.TheEDCOVID-19 Handbookwill support the education community with implementation guidance, strategies,and considerationsto help reopen schoolssafely.The handbook is being released in two volumes.
First Volume of the ED COVID-19 Handbook
The first volume supplementsCDC's Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation. ED's handbook provides practical examples and roadmaps to provide educators and staff with the tools they need to implement CDC's recommended safe practices for in-person learning. Highlights include:
The handbook provides applicable strategies to promote universal and correct use of masks in schools by utilizing signage and school announcements to remind students and staff how to use masks. The handbook guides educators through working with students with disabilities who cannot wear a mask or safely wear a mask, consistent with CDC guidelines.
Physical Distancing Practices
The ED handbook details a variety of practical ways that educators and schools can practice physical distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including:
Roadmap for Stakeholder Engagement
A successful school reopening strategy requires engaging the entire school community to promote actions that will lead to a safe learning environment for all educators, staff, and students. ED's handbook lays out a roadmap for who should be at the table and suggests ways that school leaders and educators can conduct individual outreach activities and use surveys and virtual town halls to engage the community in an effort to reopen schools.
Second Volume of the ED COVID-19 Handbook
The second volume of the ED COVID-19 Handbook, which will be released in the coming weeks, will provide specific strategies to address the extraordinary disruption created by COVID-19 for students, educators, and parents especially for historically underserved students and communities that preliminary data suggest have been hit hardest by the pandemic. These strategies will be tailored around the following topics: