The Truth about CDC Guidelines for the Upcoming School Year

Did anyone else see the crazy graphic with the blue background that circulated Facebook earlier this week? The one with the glaring spelling error in the title?? Let me refresh your memory... Does this look familiar???

The original post did not have the red "X", and this thing circulated quickly, all the while sparking panic with every "share." If we're honest with ourselves, we couldn't help but read through it, even if we noted the lack of credibility with "guidlines" in the first few words. As you read this list, credible or not, it's hard not to feel a slight bit of anxiety creep in, right?

I think the worst part of this is that no one really knows what's coming. In light of this, I also think the best thing we can do is prepare ourselves with accurate information to help guide our expectations. For that reason, I printed the actual CDC Initiative and did a bit of reading, highlighting, and note-taking. Then, I created my own outline of what these guidelines really mean. I also noted sentences like this:

"These recommendations depend on community monitoring to prevent COVID-19 from spreading... All decisions about following these recommendations should be made in collaboration with local health officials and other State and local authorities who can help assess the current level of mitigation needed based on levels of COVID-19 community transmissions..."

In other words, these are recommendations, but the final decisions about the appropriate protocols for our school year lie in the hands of our local school and government authorities. They are the ones who have to carefully consider these guidelines and put the best plan in place for our upcoming school year. I do NOT envy them that task!!!

I am not an expert in any of this, nor am I speaking on behalf of a school district or government entity. I have no authority at all... but I can confidently say that the table I have created is based on information outlined by the CDC and is not intended to mislead or scare anyone. To the contrary;I hope this factual information will help us, realistically, begin to prepare for the days to come.

Again, all of this information came directly from the CDC document, which is available for anyone to access and read here. I tried to maintain the same language as much as possible to ensure consistency with this information. The last thing we need is more confusion!

Now on to the important part. The table I have created outlines the 3 Steps and corresponding recommendations for scaling up operations in schools. If you notice, there are some recommendations that extend throughout all three steps, while others are applicable only in one or two steps. The CDC addresses far more actions than what you will see on my table, including staff training, plans for sickness, and closing procedures, to name a few. I targeted the issues that seem to be most relevant for teachers/parents as well as the rumors that have been circulated the most lately.

Also, I emphasized certain phrases that are prevalent throughout these guidelines. Phrases such as "if feasible," "if possible," "as much as possible," and "consider" are little phrases with BIG meaning. They are reminders that these are guidelines -not uncompromising rules. They were conveniently omitted from the previously-circulated graphic.

I sincerely hope this helps you understand what the guidelines actually say. Again, if you want to read the full document, I have linked it to the image below.

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