As communities consider a gradual scale-up of activities towards pre-COVID-19 operating practices in centers for learning, such as K-12 schools and summer day camps, CDC offers the following recommendations to keep communities safe while resuming peer-to-peer learning and providing crucial support for parents and guardians returning to work.

With Governor Asa Hutchinson lifting restrictions, slowly reopening Arkansas using the guidance set by the White House last month, the CDC developed and released their own guidance this week.

The 60-page documentation documents activities and initiatives that support the COVD-19 Response Plan for Opening America Up Again by President Donald Trump.

In CDC’s version, they note that some areas will not be able to move through the phases in order, as viral transmissions rise and fall.

At the community level, recent events have shown the devastating effects that outbreaks can have among vulnerable populations, especially those in congregate settings such as nursing homes, prisons, and homeless shelters.

Similarly, outbreaks in food production plants and other critical industries are crippling communities financially and threatening national food security. Rapid identification and response to these events is a CDC priority that can mitigate the immediate impact and provide critical insights needed to prevent future outbreaks in similar settings.

CDC has developed extensive tools to assist states, counties, facilities, and industries in responding to and preventing these events.

The plan for reopening America outlines a three-phased approach for reducing community mitigation measures while protecting vulnerable populations. The phased approach can be implemented statewide or community by-community at governors’ discretion according to the CDC.

The guidelines propose the use of six “gating” indicators to assess when to move through from one mitigation phase to another.

The gating criteria consists of:

Decreases in newly identified COVID-19 cases

Decreases in the emergency department and/or outpatient visits for COVID-like illness.

A decrease in ED and/or outpatient visits for influenza-like illness

A decrease in percentage of SARS-COV-2 test

Treat all patients without crisis care

Robust testing program

The CDC states that decisions to move between phases should also consider the public health capacity of the jurisdiction based on the criteria such as available testing in jurisdictions, identifying COVID-19 cases including asymptomatic and contact tracing.

Schools are closed for the academic year. While most are still trying to figure out graduation, the CDC has released guidance roe reopening schools in the fall.

As communities consider a gradual scale-up of activities towards pre-COVID-19 operating practices in centers for learning, such as K-12 schools and summer day camps, CDC offers the following recommendations to keep communities safe while resuming peer-to-peer learning and providing crucial support for parents and guardians returning to work.

Three phases are explained in the CDC’s guidance for schools.

Field trips and extracurricular activities are canceled and daily health checks and temperature screenings are suggested.

Face coverings should be worn by staff and encouraged in students (particularly older students) if feasible and are most 46 essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.

Face coverings are not recommended for babies or children under the age of two, or for anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the covering without assistance.

According to the CDC, cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected (many people carry COVID-19 but do not have symptoms).

Other guidelines include:

Restrict nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving other groups at the same time.

Space seating/desks to at least six feet apart.

Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.

Close communal use spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds if possible; otherwise stagger use and disinfect in between use.

Classroom meals are suggested verses cafeteria meals.

The CDC suggests social distance between children on school buses where possible.

Hygiene supplies, like soap and hand sanitizer, should also be readily available for students, and classroom and bus surfaces should be disinfected daily. Windows and doors should be open as much as possible to increase airflow.

The CDC recommends keeping the same group of students and staff together as often as possible.

These recommendations depend on community monitoring to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.