Communiqué

Multiple Factors Must be Considered before Opening a K-12 School


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It’s not easy for policy makers to determine how to open K-12 schools in the fall.

Each school district must weigh multiple variables in determining whether face-to-face instruction is worth the risks or whether some form of remote learning is better.

Each school must assess its situation and develop a comprehensive plan if re-opening face-to-face, says Dr. Kenneth Johnson, executive dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University.

He says local school authorities have a “huge challenge” in making sure that students, staff, and teachers are medically protected during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Johnson outlines some factors that should be considered by school administrators, teachers, parents and students.

 

Not only must the school adhere to mask-wearing policies and social distancing protocols, but the school must have procedures in place for testing students, faculty, and staff members, Dr. Johnson says.

Additionally, there must be a comprehensive plan for a circumstance where a student, staff member or teacher tests positive for the COVID virus.

Who must self-isolate and how will contact tracing be done?  These are basic questions that must be answered before traditional re-opening takes place.

Dr. Johnson also clarified that recent studies have disclosed that students age 9 and above can act as carriers of the COVID-19 virus and be able to infect family members and other with whom they come in contact.

He also noted that some children can become sick themselves.  Children are not immune from the virus.

He also cautioned about the possibility that contact sports like football or basketball may help spread the disease.

Dr. Johnson also serves as the chief medical affairs officer at Ohio University and is the chair of the Ohio Council of Medical School Deans.