CDC creates blueprint to safely reopen schools, local districts react

Posted at 6:40 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 19:40:54-05

MILWAUKEE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released its updated guidelines to help school leaders decide how to safely bring back students and teachers into the classroom. But some local school districts may be sticking to their own plan

"For what it's worth, it's been going as best as possible during a pandemic," said chief communications officer for the Kenosha Unified School District, Tanya Ruder.

On Friday, the CDC has unveiled updated guidelines for school leaders to follow as they look to bring students and teachers back for in-person learning.

"I want to be clear. With the release of this operational strategy, CDC is not mandating that schools re-open," said the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

The guidelines focus on three main strategies, including mitigation, which includes the enforcement of everything from face masks to social distancing. That's a strategy Milwaukee Public Schools plan to follow as they prepare to come back in April.

"We're making sure our buildings are clean, we're making sure that we're following all the safety protocols," said Earl Arms, media relations manager for MPS.

When it comes to how exactly schools should reopen, the CDC is recommending school officials look at the community transmission rates to determine if the schools should open in one of four color-coded zones. Those in the blue and yellow zones with low to moderate community transmission are encouraged to return to in-person learning. Those in the orange zone with a substantial amount of community transmission can consider a hybrid model. And those in more hard-hitting communities, or red zones, the CDC is recommending that elementary schools can open with reduced attendance, while middle and high schools remain virtual.

However, some local schools with hybrid plans already in place say they'll most likely stick to what's been working for them.

"We are very proud to have made it this far into February, and still being able to offer that choice to our families especially with nearly 20,000 students. We definitely take it, we review it, but then we also have the conversation with our local health department as well as the other schools throughout the county," said Ruder.

To find out exactly which of the four color-coded zones your school may be in, the CDC says you can go on their website and click their COVID Data Tracker to get the most up to date information and numbers.

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