The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidance on Thursday urging school systems across the country to have students physically present in schools at the start of the upcoming academic year in the fall.
The AAP, which represents more than 67,000 pediatricians, said that there was mounting evidence showing that children are less likely to become infected with COVID-19, and if they do, they’re less likely to become symptomatic and spread the virus.
In contrast, the AAP warned that long stretches of social isolation imposed on children because of school being closed due to COVID-19 in the spring have placed kids “at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality.”
“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 AAP wrote. “The importance of inperson 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,” the AAP said.
The AAP noted that no set of governmental policies will eliminate the spread of COVID-19, but it did offer a litany of measures that could greatly reduce the transmission of the virus in schools, including social distancing, mask-wearing and holding classes outdoors when possible.
Many school districts across the country have not yet announced plans to reopen schools at the start of the upcoming academic year in the fall, Fox News reported.
At least 26 states have reported increases in coronavirus cases over the past week, Axios reported, causing some governors to pause or roll back reopening measures in their states.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed for a second time across his state on Friday amid as the positivity rate for coronavirus tests reached 12% on Thursday. (RELATED: Abbott Orders Texas Bars Close Again Amid Coronavirus Surge)
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars in seven counties in his state to close on Sunday amid a spike of cases. The California Department of Public Health said in a statement that bars are the “highest risk sector of non-essential business currently open” for the spread of the virus.
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