Nation’s Pediatricians: Evidence, Not Politics Should Guide Reopening Decisions
The American Academy of Pediatricians are walking back their earlier statement about in-person school, and say evidence, not politics, should guide back-to-school decisions.
Two weeks ago, the AAP issued guidance for back-to-school, saying the priority should be to get kids back in classrooms. Now, the organization is walking back that statement, saying that while in-person instruction should be the goal, local districts should evaluate the prevalence of COVID-19 in their communities, and whether a return to the classroom is "safe and feasible."
In a statement, Dr. Sara Goza, the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics says, "It’s unfortunate that our guidance is being politicized by some and misinterpreted to mean a universal return to school no matter what. That is not what we recommend."
The AAP says public health agencies "must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics" and said "schools in areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen against the judgment of local experts."
Updated guidance says the goal should still be in-person instruction, but policies should be flexible and responsive to changes in the viral transmission in schools. The AAP says "The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020."
The AAP has also created a social media graphic illustrating a simplified version of their recommendations:
In New York State, the Regents are expected to release guidance for school districts this week. School districts are required to create plans for re-opening and provide those plans to the state by July 31. Governor Cuomo has said he'll announce whether schools will re-open during the first week of August.