Educators and families face new CDC guidelines as kids go back to school
Millard and Omaha Public Schools both say their protocols won’t change
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As the new school year begins, parents may be wondering how new, updated Centers for Disease Control guidelines for COVID-19 protocols will affect their children in the classroom.
Released Thursday, the new guidelines mainly affect quarantining, social distancing, and testing.
Many school districts began scaling back their COVID-19 precautions long before the CDC relaxed its guidelines and most families will not notice a big difference.
Michelle Settlemyer, President of the Omaha Education Association, is hopeful the revised CDC guidelines will lead to more “normal” classrooms this year.
Settlemyer said, “I think going into the new year we get to learn how to people again. I mean be with people and learn how to be human again and have all those interactions and not be reliant on a tv screen, monitor.”
On Thursday, the CDC dropped the recommendation that people quarantine if they come in close contact with an infected person. And stopped recommending that schools do routine daily testing.
Social distancing is gone, along with the “test-to-stay” recommendation, directing schools to test students who were exposed to COVID.
Masks are optional.
Settlemyer said, “Students, if their parents feel that their student should wear a mask, they can still wear a mask. They don’t have to wear a mask. But if they choose to, they can.
Settlemyer admits that the relaxed guidelines could mean greater risk of exposure. She said, “You put more people in a smaller space the odds of you catching something are much higher than if you are in a larger space with less people.”
However, she stopped short of saying the guidelines would lead to even larger class sizes. “Larger class sizes, that’s inherent where the school district is right now and it’s not the direct result of the CDC guidelines or the COVID pandemic or anything like that,” Settlemyer said.
Parent Andrew Lawrence said, “We certainly got to learn to deal with this. The virus isn’t going away anytime soon.”
Educators stress the importance of personal responsibility: Wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, test if you think you may have COVID, and see a doctor if needed.
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