PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The question of getting students back in classrooms is front and center. Research shows it can be done safely as long as the virus is controlled.
And experts say a safe return to school is crucial for the well-being of many children.READ MORE: 'A Game Changer': CDC Recommends Johnson & Johnson's 1-Dose COVID Vaccine, Paving Way For Distribution To Begin
Most students have lost almost a year of time in the classroom, away from friends and all the in-person academic and emotional support that’s so critical.
Experts say safely getting back to school full-time depends on safety precautions.
“I think it’s time for schools to reopen safely, safely,” said President Joe Biden.
President Biden told Norah O’Donnell on CBS that he wants students back in class if it can be done safely.
Updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected this week.READ MORE: Irv Cross, Former Eagles Star DB And Pioneer Black Analyst, Dies At 81
Its current position is if precautions are followed there’s little evidence of transmission in schools. In addition to face masks, physical distancing and increased room ventilation, schools need to limit risky activities like indoor sports and restricted indoor dining.
“If we want to get our schools open and our schools open safely and well, the best way to do that is to reduce community spread,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
The new head of the CDC addressed safely reopening schools during an update from the White House COVID-19 Response Team.
“The data from schools suggest there is very little transmission that is happening within the schools, especially when there’s masking and social distancing occurring. And that when there are transmission in the schools it’s because they’ve been brought in from the community and because there are breaches in masking and distancing,” Dr. Walensky said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is also advocating for students to return safely to school, saying in part: “We know that some children are really suffering without the support of in-person classroom experiences or adequate technology at home. We need governments at the state and federal levels to prioritize funding the needed safety accommodations, such as improving ventilation systems and providing personal protective equipment for teachers and staff.”
City officials announced Monday that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will help the health department with a new school vaccination program for teachers, principals, and staff at all schools in Philadelphia.MORE NEWS: COVID In Philadelphia: City Easing More Restrictions Monday On Road To Recovery
It’s expected to begin by the end of February and will take place in a number of locations, including pop-up clinics located in school buildings throughout the city.