We know these questions are on everyone’s mind, and we have to be honest that this is still very much a “wait and see” question as the circumstances on the ground, as well as our knowledge of the science develop.
The Nerdy Girls are very sympathetic to the huge educational and social costs of keeping kids home from school, and we are strongly in the camp of considering all of these costs and benefits for any decisions that are made in the fall.
For now, we commend the educators and planners who are working furiously to come up with flexible and evidence-based plans for school re-openings.
We know some of you are frustrated with some things you are hearing from local school districts, and where you are so inclined you may want to share this hot off the press resource from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and Health Buildings for Health that we find EXTREMELY useful. Note: (you have to enter an e-mail address to download the report, but it is freely available).
In brief, the report highlights 5 key areas of focus for school re-openings:
HEALTHY CLASSROOMS (wear masks, wash hands frequently, maximize physical distance, maximize group distance to slow transmission chains, disinfect objects)
HEALTHY BUILDINGS (increase outdoor air ventilation, filter indoor air, supplement with portable air cleaners, use plexiglass as a physical barrier, install no-contact infrastructure, keep surfaces clear, focus on bathroom hygiene)
HEALTHY ACTIVITIES (provide recess, modify physical education, reimagine music and theater, continue sports with controls)
HEALTHY SCHEDULES (manage transition times and locations, make lunchtime safer, rethink transportation, modify attendance)
HEALTHY POLICIES (establish and reinforce a culture of health, safety, and shared responsibility, form a COVID-19 response team and plan, prioritize staying at home when sick, promote viral testing, establish plans when there is a case, support remote learning options, de-densify school buildings, protect students and staff)
Please read the full report for many more super insightful details. Many of these principles can also be applied to re-openings in other settings such as offices or small businesses.
Given the on-going uncertainty that will still prevail this autumn, the Nerdy Girls want to emphasize compassion, empathy, and TRANSPARENCY in communication between schools and parents as much as possible.
Stay tuned for continued updates, and we will get through this, together!