Countries have been able to reopen their schools safely, something the U.S has not been able to achieve. Many states want to reopen schools efficiently and quickly despite the many setbacks they may face, including the rise of new cases as a result of the delta variant. State and federal governments have supported and provided funding to implement measures as to have a safe and healthy learning environment throughout the school year.
Mandate Face Coverings
While children appear to be less likely to transmit coronavirus, it is still vital that everyone, including teachers and faculty, continue to wear masks inside the school building. Children are now able to receive the vaccine, however some parents choose to opt out of getting their children vaccinated.
Testing and Tracking Cases
Schools should track students who experience symptoms, as they may be likely to have and spread coronavirus. With the new delta variant forcing lockdowns in Asian and Pacific countries, and with cases of the variant detected in the US, schools should be especially cautious as this is a more contagious variant with higher impact on the youth.
Physical Distancing and Enhanced Cleaning
Decreasing the amount of students present and increasing the amount of sanitary stations results in a safe classroom environment. Faculty should have access to cleaning supplies to disinfect every area of the classroom, especially those where the children spend the most time in. Schools should implement a hybrid model in order to decrease the amount of students and faculty present in the classrooms.
A New Normal?
With the latest Delta variant and others certainly to come, we all are left wondering if this is the new normal. Parents and teachers alike seek ways to improve connection among kids who must socialize for their emotional well-being. If social distancing measures are a part of every day life, we ask ourselves, is this how it is going to be from now on? Only time will tell…
Editor's Note: This post was adapted from "The Urgency of Reopening Schools Safely" by Linda Darling-Hammond, a contributor for Forbes Magazine.
Rohan Sakhardande is an intern for Future N Focus “Dream Catcher” Enterprises. He is currently majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. His purpose in life is to help as many people as physically possible, no matter what challenge or struggle they may be facing.