EDUCATION

Academic, mental and physical benefits of in-person school outweigh virus risks, pediatrics group says

Jun 30, 2020, 11:07 AM
The American Academy of Pediatrics is pushing for students to be physically present in classrooms. ...
The American Academy of Pediatrics is pushing for students to be physically present in classrooms. Photo courtesy - Shutterstock

(CNN) — As states grapple with how to safely start the upcoming school year, the American Academy of Pediatrics is pushing for students to be physically present in classrooms rather than continue in remote learning for the sake of their well-being.

The group, which represents and guides pediatricians across the country, updated its back-to-school recommendations to say evidence shows the academic, mental, and physical benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks from the coronavirus.

“The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the group said on its website.

“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. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.”

Schools are probably not greatly amplifying the spread of coronavirus and children are less likely to become extremely sick from the virus than adults, the pediatrics group added.

While there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of the virus’ spread, the AAP listed specific recommendations based on the different grade levels.

For example, Pre-Kindergarten schools should focus on hand hygiene, cohorting classes to minimize crossover among children and adults and utilizing outdoor spaces when possible. Face coverings or physical distancing are lower priority as those strategies may be harder to implement on younger children.

But in middle and high schools, universal face coverings should be required when a 6-foot distance is not able to be maintained and desks should be placed 3 to 6 feet apart.

The AAP’s recommendations come as states nationwide unveil their plans for getting America’s 56 million school children back to school in the fall.

Earlier this month, Virginia state officials announced a phased, hybrid approach to reopening K-12 schools that would have strict social distancing measures in place, which could require “alternative schedules that blend in-person and remote learning for students,” according to a news release.

Connecticut also announced that K-12 schools should plan on reopening for all students in the fall. Schools must work to maximize social distancing, including reconfiguring desks to maximize distance, frequent hand washing and requiring face coverings for students and staff, Miguel Cardona, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Education, said at a news conference last week.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also suggested that keeping schools closed, in general, isn’t necessary.

“In some situations, there will be no problem for children to go back to school,” Fauci told CNN earlier this month. “In others, you may need to do some modifications. You know, modifications could be breaking up the class so you don’t have a crowded classroom, maybe half in the morning, half in the afternoon, having children doing alternate schedules.”

The coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of slowing in the US.

Thirty-one states saw an increase in new coronavirus cases this past week compared to the week prior, primarily in the South and the West. Another 15 states held steady to the week prior, and just four states — Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island — saw a decline.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

Education

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. Photo credit: Uta...
Devin Oldroyd

Hogle Zoo welcomes new Red Panda in effort to conserve the species

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. It hopes to breed her with Mow Mow, a red panda currently living there.
7 days ago
USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Michele Rowe

Flight instructor, student, die in crash of USU Aviation plane

Officials said a teacher and student affiliated with USU aviation were killed in a plane crash near Wellsville.
13 days ago
USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Waverly Golden

Utah State University reports on Latina women’s status in Utah

The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project researched disparities between Latina Women and all women in Utah.
21 days ago
Utah Valley University March 23, 2020.  (Gabriel Mayberry/ UVU Marketing)...
Martha Harris

Utah adults struggling in their civics knowledge, a UVU study said

Utah adults get an almost failing grade in their civics knowledge, according to a study from Utah Valley University.
29 days ago
The Utah State Board of Education building. Utah schools give out a risk prevention survey every tw...
Aimee Cobabe

Utah State Board of Education drops support for risk prevention survey

Utah schools have given kids a health and risk prevention survey since 2003, but the State Board of Education recently pulled its support for the survey.
29 days ago
utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Academic, mental and physical benefits of in-person school outweigh virus risks, pediatrics group says