MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Most school districts across the Mid-South are starting soon, and while some will begin classes virtually, medical professionals teamed up to provide guidance for those going back to the classroom in the midst of a pandemic.
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has partnered with the University of Tennessee to form a back-to-school task force, said Jason Yaun with Le Bonheur.
Pandemic experts, pediatric health officials and district leaders make up the back-to-school task force. This week they released 21 pages of recommendations for schools addressing an array of issues they might face in the 2020-2021 school year.
“We have working groups that are advising schools on medical policies and procedures, infection control and prevention. What to do when we have positive cases,” he said.
So, what should happen when there’s a positive COVID case at a school?
The back-to-school task force suggests schools should have a COVID-19 sick room, dedicated space for anyone feeling ill with symptoms. Attending personnel should wear N-95 masks and any siblings of an ill child should be dismissed as well. The task force stresses districts should remind staff and students frequently to stay home if they’re not feeling well.
They say face coverings should be worn every day as much as possible by students and staff. Mask breaks should be worked into the day when 6 feet of separation from others is possible.
When it comes to busing, task force members recommend parents drop off students at school if possible. If not, bus drivers and students should wear masks and students should alternate rows when riding the bus to allow for social distancing.
Task force members say as more information becomes available they’ll update the guidelines. That back to school task force meets again Thursday morning.
There’s a lot more in this report. You can see all the recommendations here.