CDC Guidelines for Schools Re-Opening Revealed

Debate over safety threatens to hamper students' learning.

February 22, 2021

Adie Guo

Staff Writer at Motus News

On February 12, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention or CDC released its guidelines for students and staff returning back to school. These guidelines are relatively new and still need to be instituted, so it’s unclear if it is practical, effective and accommodating to the many divisions in schools.

First off, we highly encourage you to check out the CDC guidelines. As reporters, we will only briefly talk about these guidelines and mostly analyze their impact, so if you want to go more in-depth, please feel free to check out the website.

A huge component of how effective these guidelines are is the extent to which they will be instituted. So far it seems that these guidelines are purely recommendations and not federal mandates. This leads to some skepticism on whether schools will actually follow the guidelines and keep the staff and students safe. A lack of strictness may lead to dangerous and COVID-breeding grounds that could lead to an outbreak. However, any guidance at all does help private and public schools understand what’s necessary and perhaps can at least form a base of their own guidelines.

Some schools believe the opposite. Public health experts and parents actually have a completely different view on the institution of these guidelines. To them, social distancing, masks, and other precautions are viewed as too strict and make for an impossible learning environment. Experts state that they believe the low risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19 children is negligible, but fail to mention their stance on how the teachers and other staff will be protected.

Others believe that the pace the guidelines set for moving in-person are moving too slow. The new guidelines contained advice for hybrid learning to mix with in-person learning depending on the gravity of the pandemic. Experts Joseph Allen, a professor at Harvard and Helen Jenkins, a professor at Boston University write in their report, “If they’re not back already, your kids are not going back to school full-time this year.” Unfortunately, it is true that the pandemic has set behind students’ education and many are extremely eager to return to the same pace of learning before, but this seems infeasible due to the short supply of vaccines and new, uncharted strain.

Others think that these guidelines are too vague and not helpful enough to guide them on reopening schools safely and properly. For example, Professor Joseph Allen who also believes in stricter guidelines says, "CDC gives lip service to ventilation in its report, and you have to search to find it.”

So far, the reopening of schools has been met with imprecision, impatience, skepticism, and confusion. Overall, these guidelines have been highly controversial and mostly negative. During these trying times, the world has been going through the chaos and things have been put on hold. Education is one of the most important things we need in order to build a future. The most we can do to reopen schools is apply these guidelines by putting safety first but also keeping efficiency in mind if we want to get back to school soon. Of course, this whole ordeal is a process in which will require many revisions and more knowledge.