I started seeing this not-so fun graphic shared over and over on Facebook, and I felt like I needed to do some fact checking. The bullet points shared look like they are taken directly from the CDC's 60 page guide to assist communities as they reopen. Some of these points make sense, but others have me questioning how valid this graphic really is.  Also, the fact that the word guidelines is misspelled is a red flag. I don't know the original source for the graphic, but it not 'CDC official'. Let's take a closer look into each point. As you read through each statement, keep in mind that these are just guiding principles provided by the CDC.

Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. 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

When in doubt, always go directly to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infographic FB
  • 'Wear masks over the age of 2' This appears to be accurate.

    Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.

  • 'No sharing of any items or supplies, all belongings in individual cubbies or labeled containers; no sharing electronic devices, toys, games, learning aids' Okay, there is a lot to sort through in this bullet point, and some misinformation.

    Use of shared objects (e.g., gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games) should be limited when possible, or cleaned between use.

One word can make a huge difference. The graphic says 'No', but the CDC says 'Limited use'.

Keep each child’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.

This is accurate, and really should be done all of the time.

Avoid sharing electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids.

This point also checks out.

  • 'Desks 6 feet apart, all facing the same way' How many students could fit in one classroom with this rule? Let's see what the CDC says.

Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.

The key difference in this statement is 'When feasible'. Obviously, for most classrooms this spacing is simply no feasible.

  • 'Distance on school buses - one child per seat, skip rows' This is another guideline that seems nearly impossible. Are we going to get more buses or are we counting on more students doing virtual learning?

Create distance between children on school buses (g., seat children one child per row, skip rows) when possible.

Ah, here you see the importance of the two words that were left off of the graphic - 'When possible'.

  • 'Install sneeze guards and partitions wherever you cannot space 6ft apart' This is something that most retail and grocery stores are doing now. Let's see if it's something we will see in schools.

Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart (e.g., reception desks).

This is true, but the example is the public facing areas like reception. Will we see partitions in other areas, probably.

  • 'One way routes in hallways; tape on sidewalks and walls to assure kids stay 6ft apart' I know for a fact some businesses are already doing this. If you've been to Walmart recently you know how this works.

Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and children remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g. guides for creating “one way routes” in hallways).

This guideline checks out, and it is probably one of the rules we will have to get used to in many public situations.

  • 'No Communal shared spaces - cafeterias, playgrounds' Wait, what? No lunch? How is this supposed to work?

Have children bring their own meals as feasible, or serve individually plated meals in classrooms instead of in a communal dining hall or cafeteria, while ensuring the safety of children with food allergies.

Wow. Okay, that answers the lunch question using those two words 'When feasible'. If you have ever eaten with your child in elementary school, you know the controlled chaos that lunchtime brings. Maybe if kids eat in their classrooms, they will have more time to eat (Bright side) But what about socializing?

Close communal use shared spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds with shared playground equipment if possible; otherwise, stagger use and clean and disinfect between use.

Read the section from the CDC again. This key information was left out of the graphic, 'if possible; otherwise, stagger use and clean and disinfect between use'. 

  • Physical barriers or screens between sinks in bathrooms

Add physical barriers, such as plastic flexible screens, between bathroom sinks especially when they cannot be at least 6 feet apart.

This guideline is accurate.

  • 'Only pre-packages boxes or bags of food instead of cafeteria food; kids eat in classrooms' Now, we already know the answer to part of this. Let's dive in deeps with more facts.

Have children bring their own meals as feasible, or serve individually plated meals in classrooms instead of in a communal dining hall or cafeteria, while ensuring the safety of children with food allergies. 

If food is offered at any event, have pre-packaged boxes or bags for each attendee instead of a buffet or family-style meal. Avoid sharing food and utensils and ensure the safety of children with food allergies.

Do you see the subtle difference between the two statements? Pre-packaged refers to events like family nights.

  • 'No field trips, assemblies, or external organizations in the schools. Limit volunteers and visitors' Field trips have always been something to look forward to, both for students and parents. Will they really be a thing of the past?
    1. Pursue virtual group events, gatherings, or meetings, if possible, and promote social distancing of at least 6 feet between people if events are held. Limit group size to the extent possible.

    2. Limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as possible – especially with individuals who are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, county).

    3. Pursue virtual activities and events in lieu of field trips, student assemblies, special performances, school-wide parent meetings, and spirit nights, as possible.

    Please note that the word 'No' is not used in the phrasing from the CDC. Schools are encouraged to 'Pursue' other types of trips, and again we see 'If possible'.

  • 'Same children stay with same staff all day, no switching groups or teachers' Obviously, for the younger students this is pretty much their day already. But for the upper grades, where teachers specialize in different topics, this seems like it would be an issue.

Ensure that student and staff groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of children stay with the same staff (all day for young children, and as much as possible for older children). Limit mixing between groups if possible.

Here the CDC recommends groups of students and staff should remain static 'As much as possible for older children', and again the CDC does not use the word 'No' in its wording.

  • 'Stagger arrival and departure times for students to limit exposure to crowds of kids' This would certainly change up the school day, but the lines at parent pick up might actually be shorter.

Stagger arrival and drop-off times or locations by cohort or put in place other protocols to limit contact between cohorts and direct contact with parents as much as possible.

So, here the recommendation is to stagger times, like the graphic states or by changing locations. Maybe grades XYZ enter in door 1 and ABC go in through door 2.

  • 'If possible, daily health and temperature checks' I can see this implemented in our schools. I know a lot of businesses are doing this now.
  • If feasible, conduct daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening and/or or symptom checking) of staff and students.
  • Health checks should be conducted safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations

Here we see just a bit of re-wording in the guideline, but this is something that schools will consider doing.

  • 'And several rules about cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day and hand washing frequently' I'm pretty sure we should've always be following this guideline.

Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection.

Encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Infographic FB
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