I am sure you have seen the Meme on Facebook at this point… You know the one, it’s blue and starts with “here we go New CDC Guidlines for reopening schools” (sic). Since it’s release and moment of viral fame it’s since been marked as ‘partially untrue’ by Facebook and fact-checked by multiple sources….including me. I knew that Facebook was cracking down on information that may be untrue but this meme is the first time I saw that in action. I am including below both versions of the meme to show how Facebook is alerting individuals to the fact that something had been fact-checked and determined to be false or partially false.
Either way, the CDC released its Guidelines for schools, and people immediately reduced them into this crazy meme. However, the guidelines are just that, they aren’t rules or mandates. “These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools must comply.” emphasis in original. CDC Considerations for Schools, May 19, 2020.
CDC Risk Assessments
I thought it was helpful that the guidelines broke activities down by level of risk, and gave suggestions for schools to make the best of what they can do. The Centers for Disease Control suggested that for schools to reopen they needed to consider Lowest risk, Moderate risk, High risk and describes them as follows:
Lowest Risk: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
More Risk: Small, in-person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days and groups do not mix. Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures, or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).
Highest Risk: Full sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.
I appreciate that the CDC went on to break down different situations and considerations because with everything COVID these situations will be determined on the local and school district level. Schools in large metropolitan areas have different considerations than more rural schools, private and religious schools may be able to make different accommodations than large public schools. The discussion of how schools should and will reopen needs to happen sooner rather than later. Without clarity on what will be happening in the Fall for schools makes it very hard for parents and employers to make plans for moving forward.
Why schools reopening is critical for parents
I have felt trapped in that holding pattern as well, not knowing when our daily rhythm will resume, creating a new rhythm without school and after school activities. Though I suspect when school does resume it will look different. Bake-sales for one will be a thing of the past for quite a while, are you slightly relieved like I am….is that terrible to say. Also stricter regulations for when students and teachers must stay home when sick. For most schools it’s already 24 hours fever free but I think we will see stricter enforcement of those rules, which is tremendously difficult for working parents.
With that being said accommodating the new rhythm of school employers will have to also understand and accommodate parents taking care of sick children. If your home is anything like mine then it goes something like this…one child is sick, you take time to care for said child, they recover and resume school, the other child gets ill, you take time to take care of said child…and then you get ill as well and go to work sick because you have already taken so much time taking care of your kids. Every flu season this is our life. Early in my career as a District Attorney as my husband was building his business I regularly was the one who took time off and it was a challenge. Now that I work from home I find myself balancing child care and working from my laptop which is also a challenge.
For more on this topic the last few episodes of my Get Legit Law and Sh!t podcast break down everything from the societal shift needed to help parents, the college admissions scandal and more of the CDC guidelines for reopening schools.
Emily D. Baker, Esq.
Badass Lawyer for Online Business
Emily has been running business for 15 years and has ove 13 years of legal experience. She spent 10 years at the Los Angeles County District attorney's office where she truly learned to be a solopreneur. Emily has built her consulting and speaking business from the ground up, in her garage jamming out to 90's music. She specializes in no BS practical advice for the starting and scaling online entreprenur. Emily will tell you what the business gurus can't in a way that is both hillarious and empowering.