Operating schools during COVID-19: CDC’s Considerations

Updates have been made to reflect the new school resources and tools released on July 23rd and 24th, as well as the latest COVID-19 information.

Changes to the considerations as of August 21, 2020:

  • Advanced considerations for planning and preparing schools before opening
  • Updated ventilation considerations
  • Updated food service considerations
  • Updated considerations for students who may not be able to wear masks
  • Updated considerations for students with special health needs and disabilities
  • Updated considerations on cohort, staggering, and switching strategies
  • Updated considerations for identifying signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and screening
  • Updated coping and support considerations
  • Updated considerations for making accommodation plans
  • Updated considerations for Direct Service Providers (DSPs)

Considerations for schools

As communities in the United States consider how to safely reopen K-12 school buildings and personal services, CDC is providing updated considerations on mitigation strategies that K-12 school administrators can use to protect students, teachers, and staff and slow the spread of COVID -19. These updated considerations for schools are designed to help school administrators protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, staff, their families, and communities:

  1. Promote behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19
  2. Maintain a healthy environment
  3. Maintaining a healthy operation
  4. Prepare when someone gets sick

Schools, in collaboration with state and local health authorities, should determine as much as possible whether and how these considerations should be implemented while adapting to the particular needs and circumstances of the local population. The implementation should be based on what is feasible, practical, acceptable and tailored to the needs of each community. It is also critical to develop strategies that can be revised and adjusted based on the levels of virus transmission in the school and across the community, and that are in close communication with state and / or local health officials and recognize the differences between school districts . including urban, suburban and rural areas. These considerations should complement:do not replace– All federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations that schools must comply with (e.g., Disability Awareness Act)external symbol

School-based health care facilities may refer to the CDC guidelines for US health care facilities and may find it helpful to point out the ten ways health systems can function effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guiding principles to be observed

Everyone's goal is to prioritize the reopening of schools as safely and quickly as possible given the many known and established benefits of personal learning. To make this possible and to support the schools in their daily work, it is important to take and carefully implement measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 within the school and outside the community. By being vigilant about these measures, the risk of transmission in school will be reduced regardless of the underlying burden on the community. Risk is lowest when community transmission is low and good mitigation strategies are implemented carefully.

The statement The Importance of Reopening American Schools This Fall shows that parents and principals are very concerned about schools reopening but understandably concerned about the health and safety of their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children and COVID-19

In general, children with COVID-19 have less severe symptoms than adults or an asymptomatic infection – meaning they have no signs or symptoms of any illness (1-7).

Analysis of pediatric COVID-19 hospital data from 14 states from early March to late July 2020 found that the cumulative rate of COVID-19-associated hospital stays in children over 20 times lower compared to adults (8.0 versus 164 .5 per 100,000 population) (8). . Although the cumulative rate is low, every third child hospitalized with COVID-19 has been admitted to an intensive care unit, so the risk is not negligible (8). Likewise, the mortality rate among school-age children is much lower than among adults (9, 10). The comparatively low risk of hospitalization and death in children themselves must also be related to the risk for teachers, school administrators and other employees in the school environment. The risk faced by teachers, school administrators, and other school staff is expected to be the same as that of other adults in the community if they receive COVID-19.

However, the best available evidence from countries that have reopened schools shows that COVID-19 poses a low risk for school-age children – at least in areas with low community transmission. However, there is growing evidence that children of all ages are prone to SARS-CoV-2 infections (3-7) and, contrary to previous reports (11, 12), may play a role in transmission (7, 13) 14).

The many benefits of personal schooling should be weighed against the risks posed by the spread of COVID-19. In the best interests of the students, face-to-face learning is of key importance compared to virtual learning. Applying and complying with the measures contained in this document and similar measures carried out in key workplaces can help ensure that schools reopen and remain open safely for personal learning.

Decide how to reopen

School officials should make school reopening decisions based on the data available, including the level of community transmission and their ability to implement appropriate mitigation measures in schools to protect students, teachers, administrators and other staff. Schools should also consider other aspects of student risk and well-being that may arise if schools are not reopened to face-to-face teaching. This includes the potential adverse effects on the socio-emotional, behavioral, and mental health of students, as well as the critical services offered to students to address health inequalities and serve children in need, such as: B. School feeding programs and special education services – School programs and mental health services.

The unique and critical role schools play makes them a priority for reopening and keeping open so that students can receive academic instruction as well as provide other vital services and support. By strictly implementing mitigation strategies, schools can meet the needs of their students and their community while reducing the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading

COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets released when speaking, coughing, or sneezing. It is possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as hand washing, staying at home if sick) and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles that are discussed below. Fortunately, there are a number of steps school administrators can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and spreading it during school hours and activities.

In order to achieve the goal of reopening schools for personal learning as safely and quickly as possible, and helping schools stay open, it is important to take steps and carefully implement measures to keep the spread of COVID-19 within and outside of school to slow down in the community. This means that students, families, teachers, school staff, and all community members take steps to protect themselves and others where they live, work, study, and play.

Continuum of risk

According to the learning model and implementation of proven mitigation strategies

In general, the risk of spreading COVID-19 in schools increases across the continuum from virtual, hybrid to personal learning, with the risk of hybrid and personal learning being moderated based on the set of mitigation strategies put in place and the extent they are scrupulously followed .

This stratification, while not exhaustive, attempts to characterize the risks of spread between students, teachers, and staff on this continuum:

Lowest Risk:

  • Students and teachers take part in purely virtual classes, activities and events

Some risk:

  • Hybrid learning model: some students participate in virtual learning, others in personal learning
  • Small personal courses, activities and events
  • Cohorts, rotating schedules, and tiered schedules are rigorously applied
  • No mixing of groups of students and teachers during / across school days
  • Students and teachers do not share objects
  • Students, teachers, and staff follow all steps to keep themselves and others safe at all times, including proper use of face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene
  • Regularly scheduled (i.e. at least daily or between uses) cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched areas, done with accuracy

Average risk:

  • Hybrid learning model: Most students participate in personal learning, some students participate in virtual learning
  • Larger personal courses, activities, and events
  • With a few exceptions, cohort, switching and grading plans are used
  • Some mix-ups of groups of students and teachers during / across the school days
  • Students and teachers share objects only minimally
  • Students, teachers and staff take all steps to protect themselves and others, such as: B. Proper use of face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched areas largely true to the original

Higher risk:

  • Students and teachers only learn in person, activities and events
  • Students mix minimally between classes and activities
  • Students and teachers share some objects
  • Students, teachers and staff follow a few steps to protect themselves and others at all times, such as: B. Proper use of face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene
  • Irregular cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched areas

Highest risk:

  • Students and teachers only learn in person, activities and events
  • Students mingle freely between classes and activities
  • Students and teachers freely share objects
  • Students, teachers and staff do not need to follow any steps to protect themselves or others, such as: B. Proper use of face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene
  • Irregular cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched areas

Plan and prepare

Contingency plans: review, update and implementation of EOPs

The main actions school administrators take before reopening personal services and facilities are: plan and prepare. To best prepare, schools should expect students, teachers, or staff to experience symptoms compatible with COVID-19, and schools need to know what to do when this happens. Regardless of the number of cases in a community, every school should have a plan to protect staff, children, and their families from the spread of COVID-19, and a response plan for students, teachers, or staff members who test positive for COVID-19. This plan should be developed in collaboration with state and local health authorities. School nurses, parents, caregivers, and guardians; Student leader; Community members; and other relevant partners. Schools should prioritize EOP components that address infectious disease outbreaks and their consequences.

  • Refer to key contingency resources as you review, update, and implement the EOP.

School nurses, teachers, staff, parents, student leaders, and other community stakeholders (e.g. youth welfare organizations, health centers, etc.) should be involved in developing the Emergency Operations Plans (EOP). Some of the strategies school administrators should consider when developing their EOP:

  • Develop a log to monitor local COVID-19 data in your community to track levels of transmission in the community, make decisions about changes to mitigation strategies, and determine whether school closings may be necessary. This should include the daily review of official public health data for the community surrounding the school. Contact the state, local, tribal, or territorial health department for guidance on local COVID-19 data.
  • Develop and test systems for exchanging information (e.g. school-to-parent email or SMS logs, regular virtual meetings with parents / teachers, etc.) with school and community partners and key stakeholders. Use institutional information systems for daily reporting of information that can help detect and respond to an outbreak, such as: B. Number of cases and absenteeism or changes in the number of visits by students, teachers and other staff to the health center.
  • Adopt mitigation strategies to promote healthy behavior that will reduce the spread of COVID-19, maintain a healthy school environment and operations, and plan what to do if a student, teacher, or staff member falls ill.
  • Investigate the accessibility of information and resources to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain a healthy environment, and determine whether they are culturally relevant, available in clear text, and in appropriate languages ​​and accessible formats.
  • In consultation with local officials, establish transparent criteria as to when the school will suspend face-to-face learning to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19, as well as transparent criteria for resuming face-to-face learning.
  • Assess students' special needs (such as continuing education, meal programs, and other services) and develop strategies to address those needs if personal learning is disrupted or if a student is self-isolating due to diagnosis or exposure to COVID-19 .
  • Make sure the EOP takes into account students with disabilities, students with special health needs, students with homelessness, students with an immigrant background and students with knowledge of English, etc.

Promote behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19

Schools may consider implementing various strategies to encourage behaviors that will reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Stay at home if necessary

Let staff and families know when they / their children should stay home and when they can return to school.

  • Actively encourage staff and students who are sick or who have recently had close contact (less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone with COVID-19 to stay at home. Develop guidelines that encourage sick staff and students to stay home without fear of retaliation, and ensure that staff, students, and student families are aware of these guidelines. Consider not evaluating schools based on absenteeism and offering virtual learning and teleworking options when possible.
  • Staff and students should stay home if they test positive for or show symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Staff and students who have recently had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health.
  • CDC's criteria can help inform when employees should return to work:

Hand hygiene and breathing etiquette

  • Teach and intensify hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and intensify monitoring to ensure compliance among students and staff.
  • Encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands should be washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol should be used (for employees and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).


  • Teach and reinforce the use of masks. Using masks is one of many important mitigation strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks are designed to protect others in the event that the wearer is unwittingly infected but has no symptoms. Masks are not personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g. surgical masks, respirators).
  • Appropriate and consistent use of masks is most important when students, teachers, and staff are indoors, and when social distancing is difficult to implement or maintain. People should be reminded frequently not to touch the face covering or mask and to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Staff, students, and student families should be instructed on the proper use, removal, and washing of masks.
  • Masks should Not be placed on:
    • Children under 2 years
    • Anyone who has difficulty breathing or is passed out
    • Anyone unable to act or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
    • Younger students, e.g. B. in early elementary school (Pre-K to 3rd grade).
    • Students, teachers and staff with severe asthma or other breathing difficulties.
    • Students, teachers and staff with special educational or health needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, and sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.
  • While masks are highly recommended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes that there are certain instances where wearing a mask may not be possible. In these cases, parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, staff and school administrators should consider adjustments and alternatives whenever possible. They may need to contact healthcare providers for advice on wearing masks.
  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who care for or interact with a hearing impaired person, may not be able to wear masks if they rely on reading to communicate. This may be particularly relevant for teachers or staff who teach or work with deaf or hard of hearing students. In this situation, you should use a clear mask that covers your nose and wraps around your face securely. If a clear mask is not available, see if faculty and staff can use written communications (including subtitles) and reduce background noise to improve communication while wearing a mask that will block your lips.
  • Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to prevent breath droplets from getting into the air and onto others if the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, speaks, or raises their voice. This is known as source control.
  • In addition to those who interact with the deaf or hard of hearing, the following groups of teachers and staff may also consider using clear masks:
    • Teachers to young students (e.g. teaching young students to read).
    • Teacher of students studying English
    • Teachers of students with disabilities
  • Clear masks should be adjusted so that they do not cause breathing difficulties or overheating for the wearer. Clear masks are not face shields. CDC does not recommend the use of face shields for normal day-to-day activities or as a replacement for masks as there is no evidence of their effectiveness in controlling the spread of the virus from source to source control.

Adequate care

Promote healthy hygienic behavior by having adequate supplies, including water and soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (for employees and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), paper towels, handkerchiefs, disinfectant wipes, masks (where possible), and trash cans without touch / foot pedal.

Signs and messages

  • Put up signs in clearly visible places (e.g. school entrances, toilets) that encourage everyday protective measurespdf icon
  • Periodically send announcements to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on PA systems.
  • Use simple, clear, and effective language for behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19 when communicating with employees and families (e.g., on school websites, in email, and through school social media accounts) . If possible, provide communication in multiple languages.
  • Use communication methods that are accessible to all students, faculties, and staff, including people with disabilities.
  • Translate materials into common languages ​​spoken by students, teachers, staff and people in the school community.
  • The CDC Communications Resources main page contains freely available CDC print and digital resources. CDC also offers American Sign Language videos on COVID-19 and other means of communication.

Maintain a healthy environment

School administrators may consider implementing various strategies to maintain a healthy environment.

cleaning and desinfection

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g. play equipment, door handles, wash basin handles, drinking fountains) in school and on school buses at least daily or as often as possible between uses. The use of common objects (e.g. fitness or sports equipment, painting utensils, toys, games) should be restricted if possible or cleaned between uses.
  • Develop a schedule for increased frequency of routine cleaning and disinfection.
  • If transport vehicles (e.g. buses) are used by the school, drivers should use all safety measures and protocols specified for other employees (e.g. hand hygiene, masks). For information on cleaning and disinfecting school buses or other transport vehicles, see the instructions for bus companies.

Shared objects

  • Avoid sharing items that are difficult to clean or disinfect.
  • Keep each child's belongings separate from those of other children and in individually labeled containers, cubes, or areas.
  • Ensure adequate supplies to minimize the sharing of high-contact materials (e.g., assigning each student their own artifacts and equipment), or limit the use of supplies and equipment by each a group of children and clean and disinfect them between uses.
  • Avoid sharing electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or study aids.


Consider upgrades or improvements to the ventilation system and other steps to increase the supply of clean air and dilute potential contaminants in the school. Let experienced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals advise you when considering changes to HVAC systems and equipment. Some of the recommendations below are based on the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidelines for building operations during the COVID-19 pandemicexternal symbol

Improvement steps can include some or all of the following activities:

  • Increase ventilation outdoors and be careful in heavily polluted areas.
    • If weather conditions allow, increase the fresh outside air by opening windows and doors. Do not open windows and doors if this presents a safety or health risk (e.g. risk of falling, triggering of asthma symptoms) for children who use the facility.
    • Use Fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows. Position the fans safely and carefully in or near windows so as not to induce potentially contaminated airflow directly from one person through another (strategic placement of the window fans in exhaust mode can help bring fresh air into the air through other open windows and doors Room without creating strong air currents).
    • Reduce occupancy in areas where outdoor ventilation cannot be increased.
  • Make sure that the ventilation systems are working properly and that the indoor air quality for each room is acceptable for the current occupancy rate.
  • If possible, increase the total airflow to the occupied rooms.
  • Deactivate the demand-controlled ventilation control (DCV), which reduces the air supply depending on occupancy or temperature during the occupied hours.
  • Open the minimum outside air dampers further to reduce or eliminate the HVAC air circulation. In mild weather, this has no effect on thermal comfort or humidity. However, this can be difficult in cold, hot, or humid weather.
  • Improvement of the central air filtration:
    • Increase the air filtrationexternal symbol
    • Check the filter housing and racks to make sure the filter is properly seated and see how to minimize filter bypass
    • Check the filters to make sure they are within life and installed properly.
  • Before and after occupying the school, run the HVAC system with maximum outside airflow for 2 hours.
  • Make sure the toilet exhaust fans are functional and at full capacity when the school is busy.
  • Check and maintain local exhaust in areas such as toilets, kitchens, cooking areas, etc.
  • Use portable HEPA fan / filter systems (High-Efficiency Particle Air) to improve air purification (especially in areas of higher risk such as the nurse's office).
  • Check and maintain local exhaust in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, cooking areas, etc.
  • Use portable High Efficiency Particle Air (HEPA) fan / filter systems to improve air purification (particularly in areas of higher risk, such as the nurse's office and special education classrooms).
  • Generate a move from cleaner to less clean air by reevaluating the location of the supply and / or exhaust diffusers and / or flaps (especially in areas of higher risk such as the nurse's office).
  • Erwägen Sie die Verwendung von UV-keimtötender Bestrahlung (UVGI) als Ergänzung zur Inaktivierung von SARS-CoV-2, insbesondere wenn die Möglichkeiten zur Erhöhung der Raumlüftung begrenzt sind.
  • Belüftungsaspekte sind auch in Schulbussen wichtig.

* Hinweis: Die oben aufgeführten Überlegungen zu Beatmungsinterventionen beinhalten eine Reihe von Anfangskosten und Betriebskosten, die zusammen mit Risikobewertungsparametern wie Inzidenzraten in der Gemeinde, Erwartungen an die Einhaltung von Gesichtsmasken und Klassenzimmerdichte die Überlegungen beeinflussen können, für die Interventionen durchgeführt werden. Die geschätzten Anschaffungskosten (pro Raum) für die aufgeführten Lüftungsmaßnahmen reichen von 0,00 USD (Öffnen eines Fensters; Inspektion und Wartung der lokalen Abluftbelüftung; Deaktivieren der DCV-Steuerung oder Neupositionieren der Außenluftklappen) bis <100 USD (Verwendung von Ventilatoren zur Steigerung der Wirksamkeit offener Fenster). oder Neupositionierung der Zu- / Abluftdiffusoren, um einen gerichteten Luftstrom zu erzeugen) auf ca. 500 US-Dollar (Hinzufügen von tragbaren HEPA-Lüfter- / Filtersystemen) zu ca. $ 1500 (Hinzufügen von UVGI im oberen Raum).


Die vorübergehende Schließung oder der reduzierte Betrieb von Schulen und die Reduzierung des normalen Wasserverbrauchs können zu Gefahren für zurückkehrende Schüler und Mitarbeiter führen. Um das Risiko einer Exposition gegenüber Blei oder Kupfer, der Legionärskrankheit und anderen mit Wasser verbundenen Krankheiten zu minimieren, sollten Sie Maßnahmen wie das Spülen von Wasserleitungen ergreifen, um sicherzustellen, dass alle Wassersysteme und -funktionen (z. B. Waschbeckenhähne, Trinkbrunnen, Duschen, dekorative Springbrunnen) sicher sind nach längerer Stilllegung der Anlage zu verwenden und die 3Ts der EPA (Training, Testing and Taking Action) zur Reduzierung von Blei im Trinkwasser zu befolgenexternes Symbol

Geänderte Layouts

  • Platz für Sitzgelegenheiten / Schreibtische in einem Abstand von mindestens 6 Fuß, wenn dies möglich ist.
  • Drehen Sie die Schreibtische so, dass sie in die gleiche Richtung zeigen (anstatt sich gegenüber zu stehen), oder lassen Sie die Schüler nur auf einer Seite der Tische im Abstand voneinander sitzen.
  • Ändern Sie die Lernstationen und Aktivitäten nach Bedarf, sodass weniger Schüler pro Gruppe anwesend sind und wenn möglich mindestens 3 m voneinander entfernt sind.
  • Erstellen Sie nach Möglichkeit einen Abstand zwischen Kindern in Schulbussen (z. B. setzen Sie Kinder ein Kind pro Reihe, überspringen Sie Reihen), wenn dies möglich ist.

Physische Barrieren und Führer

  • Installieren Sie physische Barrieren, wie z. B. Nieschutzvorrichtungen und Trennwände, insbesondere in Bereichen, in denen es für Einzelpersonen schwierig ist, mindestens 6 Fuß voneinander entfernt zu bleiben (z. B. Empfangstische).
  • Stellen Sie physische Leitfäden bereit, z. B. Klebeband auf Fußböden oder Gehwegen und Schilder an Wänden, um sicherzustellen, dass Mitarbeiter und Kinder in Linien und zu anderen Zeiten mindestens 3 m voneinander entfernt sind (z. B. Leitfäden zum Erstellen von Einbahnstraßen in Fluren).


  • Gemeinsame Nutzung von Gemeinschaftsräumen wie Speisesälen und Spielplätzen mit gemeinsamen Spielgeräten, wenn möglich; Andernfalls gestaffeln und zwischen Gebrauch reinigen und desinfizieren.
  • Fügen Sie zwischen den Waschbecken physische Barrieren hinzu, z. B. flexible Kunststoffschirme, insbesondere wenn diese nicht mindestens 3 m voneinander entfernt sein dürfen.


  • Schulen sind unerlässlich, um den Ernährungsbedarf von Kindern zu decken, von denen viele bis zur Hälfte ihrer täglichen Kalorien in der Schule verbrauchen. Bundesweit nehmen mehr als 30 Millionen Kinder am Nationalen Schulspeisungsprogramm und fast 15 Millionen am Schulfrühstücksprogramm teil. (15, 16) Es gibt verschiedene Minderungsstrategien, die Schulen umsetzen können, während sie ihren Schülern diesen wichtigen Service bieten.
  • Vermeiden Sie es, Speisen oder Getränke zur Selbstbedienung anzubieten, z. B. Bars mit warmen und kalten Speisen, Salat- oder Gewürzbars und Getränkestationen. Servieren Sie stattdessen einzeln plattierte oder abgepackte Mahlzeiten und sorgen Sie gleichzeitig für die Sicherheit von Kindern mit Lebensmittelallergienpdf icon
  • Lassen Sie Kinder nach Möglichkeit im Freien oder in Klassenzimmern essen, während Sie so weit wie möglich soziale Distanz (mindestens 6 Fuß voneinander entfernt) einhalten, anstatt in einem gemeinsamen Speisesaal oder einer Cafeteria.
  • Lassen Sie Lehrer und Kinder ihre Hände 20 Sekunden lang mit Wasser und Seife waschen oder verwenden Sie ein Händedesinfektionsmittel, das vor und nach dem Essen mindestens 60% Alkohol enthält. Stellen Sie sicher, dass Kinder keine Lebensmittel teilen, weder von zu Hause noch vom Verpflegungsservice.
  • Wenn gemeinschaftliche Speisesäle oder Cafeterien genutzt werden, stellen Sie sicher, dass die Kinder während des Essens mindestens einen Meter voneinander entfernt in den Speiseleitungen und an den Tischen bleiben. Reinigen und desinfizieren Sie Tische und Stühle zwischen jedem Gebrauch.
  • Stellen Sie sicher, dass Kinder keine Lebensmittel oder Utensilien teilen. Dies hilft, die Verbreitung von COVID-19 bei allen Schülern zu verhindern und die Sicherheit von Kindern mit Lebensmittelallergien zu gewährleistenpdf icon
    • Verwenden Sie Einweg-Lebensmittel (z. B. Utensilien, Tabletts).
    • Wenn Einwegartikel nicht machbar oder wünschenswert sind, stellen Sie sicher, dass alle nicht wegwerfbaren Lebensmittel und Geräte vom Personal mit Handschuhen gehandhabt und mit Spülmittel und heißem Wasser oder in der Spülmaschine gewaschen werden.
    • Personen sollten sich nach dem Ausziehen der Handschuhe oder nach dem direkten Umgang mit gebrauchten Lebensmitteln die Hände waschen.
  • If food is offered at any event, have pre-packaged boxes or bags for each attendee instead of a buffet or family-style meal.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch or foot pedal trash cans, where possible, for employees, volunteers, and students to use.
  • If possible, install touchless payment methods (pay without touching money, a card, or a keypad). Provide hand sanitizer right after handling money, cards, or keypads.
  • Of Note: USDA has issued the COVID-19 Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programsexternal icon

Maintaining healthy operations

Schools may consider implementing several strategies to maintain healthy operations.

Protections for staff and children at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19

  • Offer options for staff at higher risk for severe illness (including older adults and people of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions or disabilities) that limit their exposure risk (e.g., telework, modified job responsibilities that limit exposure risk).
  • Offer options for students at higher risk of severe illness that limit their exposure risk (e.g., virtual learning opportunities).
  • Provide inclusive programming for children and youth with special healthcare needs and disabilities that allows on-site or virtual participation with appropriate accommodations, modifications, and assistance (e.g., students with disabilities may have more difficulties accessing and using technology for virtual learning).
  • Consistent with applicable law, put in place policies to protect the privacy of people at higher risk for severe illness regarding underlying medical conditions.

Regulatory awareness

Be aware of local or state regulatory agency policies related to group gatherings to determine if events can be held.

Identifying small groups and keeping them together (cohorting or podding)

Dividing students and teachers into distinct groups that stay together throughout an entire school day during in-person classroom instruction. Limit mixing between groups such that there is minimal or no interaction between cohorts.

Alternating schedule

Alternate the days when cohorts physically attend school. For example, certain grades or classrooms physically attend school on Monday/Tuesday and other grades or classrooms physically attend on Thursday/Friday (and the school is thoroughly cleaned in between, on Wednesday). As another example, some schools internationally have rotated in-person attendance weekly with one group of students attending during a week, followed by a different group the next week in rotation with thorough cleaning on the weekends.

Staggered scheduling

  • Stagger student arrival, drop-off, and pick-up time or locations by cohort, or put in place other protocols to limit contact between cohorts and direct contact with parents, guardians, and caregivers as much as possible.
  • When possible, use flexible worksites (e.g., telework at home) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) to help establish policies and practices for social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart).

M.ix of virtual learning and in-class learning (hybrid schedule)

Hybrid options can apply a cohort approach to the in-class education provided.

Virtual/at-home only

Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.

Gatherings, visitors, and field trips

  • 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.
  • Pursue options to convene sporting events and participate in sports activities in ways that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to players, families, coaches, and communities.
  • 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).
  • Limit cross-school transfer for special programs. For example, if students are brought from multiple schools for special programs (e.g., music, robotics, academic clubs, sports), consider using distance learning and virtual environments to deliver the instruction or temporarily offering duplicate programs in the participating schools.  For youth sports considerations visit the FAQs for Youth Sports Programs (e.g., physical distance, wearing masks, etc.).
  • Develop a plan for staff who travel between schools (e.g., school nurses, psychologists, therapists). For example, consider allowing them to have virtual meetings in place of physical school visits and revise scheduling to limit their visits to multiple campuses.
  • Pursue virtual activities and events in lieu of field trips, student assemblies, special performances, school-wide parent meetings, and spirit nights, as possible.

Designated COVID-19 point of contact

Designate a staff person, such as the school nurse, to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. All school staff and families should know who this person is and how to contact them.

Travel and transit

  • Consider options for limiting non-essential travel in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance.
  • Consider postponing or canceling upcoming student international travel programs.
  • Encourage students, faculty and staff who use public transportation or ride sharing to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving or riding by car either alone or with household members).
  • Ensure options for safe travel on campus for people with disabilities. For example, social distancing in designated seating areas for wheelchairs may not be possible and drivers who may need to have close contact to assist a person with disabilities.
  • Encourage students, faculty and staff who use public transportation or ride sharing to follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself when using Additionally, encourage them to commute during less busy times and clean their hands as soon as possible after their trip.

Participation in community response efforts

Consider participating with local authorities in broader COVID-19 community response efforts (e.g., sitting on community response committees).

Communication systems

Put systems in place for:

  • Staff and families should self-report to the school if they or their student have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days. The reporting system should be consistent with the health information sharing regulations for COVID-19external icon
  • Notifying staff, families, and the public of school closures and any restrictions in place to limit COVID-19 exposure (e.g., limited hours of operation).

Leave (time off) policies and excused absence policies

  • Implement flexible sick leave policies and practices that enable staff to stay home when they are sick, have been exposed, or caring for someone who is sick.
    • Examine and revise policies for leave, telework, and employee compensation.
    • Leave policies should be flexible and not punish people for taking time off and should allow sick employees to stay home and away from co-workers. Leave policies should also account for employees who need to stay home with their children if there are school or childcare closures, or to care for sick family members.  Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave days and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other, for example.
  • Develop policies for return-to-school after COVID-19 illness. CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation and quarantine can inform these policies.

Back-up staffing plan

Monitor absenteeism of students and employees, cross-train staff, and create a roster of trained back-up staff.

Staff training

  • Train staff on all safety protocols.
  • Conduct training virtually or ensure that social distancing is maintained during training.

Recognize signs and symptoms

We learn more about COVID-19 every day, and as more information becomes available, CDC will continue to update and share information. As our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 evolves, this guidance may change.

Based on the best available evidence at this time:

  • CDC does not currently recommend universal symptom screenings (screening all students grades K-12) be conducted by schools.
  • Parents or caregivers should be strongly encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness including COVID-19 every day.
  • Students who have symptoms of any infectious illness or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should not attend school in-person.
    • Schools that choose to conduct symptom screening should conduct these screenings safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations (e.g., confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)).
    • The considerations detailed here are intended only for students in K-12 school settings. For guidance related to screening of staff, please refer to CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the Prevent Transmission Among Employees section of CDC’s Resuming Business Toolkitpdf icon

Sharing facilities

Encourage any organizations that share or use the school facilities to also follow these considerations.

Support coping and resilience

  • Encourage employees and students to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about COVID-19, including social media if they are feeling overwhelmed or distressed.
  • Promote employees and students eating healthy, exercising, getting sleep, and finding time to unwind.
  • Encourage employees and students to talk with people they trust about their concerns and how they are feeling.
  • Transparently communicate with staff, teachers, students, and families, including about mental health support services available at the school. These critical communications should be accessible to individuals with disabilities and limited English proficiency.
  • Share facts about COVID-19 regularly through trusted sources of information to counter the spread of misinformation and mitigate fear.
  • Consider posting signages for the national distress hotline: 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUsto 66746
  • Ensure continuity of mental health services, such as offering remote counseling.
  • Encourage students to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chatexternal icon

Prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19

Schools may consider implementing several strategies to prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19.

Advise staff and families of students sick with COVID-19 of home isolation criteria

Sick staff members or students should not return until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation.

Make sure that staff and families know when they should stay home

Make sure that staff and families know that they (staff) or their children (families) should not come to school, and that they should notify school officials (e.g., the designated COVID-19 point of contact (e.g., school nurse)) if they (staff) or their child (families) test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case. These critical communications should be accessible to individuals with disabilities and limited English proficiency.

Isolate and transport students who develop symptoms while at school

Some students may develop symptoms of infectious illness while at school. Schools should take action to isolate students who develop these symptoms from other students and staff. Follow the school isolation protocol outlined in Screening K-12 Students for Symptoms of COVID-19: Limitations and Considerations when student develops symptoms of an infectious illness.

Clean and disinfect

  • Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting them. For outdoor areas (e.g., playgrounds, sitting areas, outdoor eating areas, etc.), this includes surfaces or shared objects in the area, if applicable.
  • Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible. Ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and disinfection productsexternal icon

Notify health officials and close contacts

  • In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, school administrators should notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)external icon
  • Inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop. Maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)external icon
  • A school might need to implement short-term building closure procedures if/when an infected person has been on campus during their infectious period and has close contact with others. If this happens, work with local public health officials to determine next steps. One option is an initial short-term class suspension and cancellation of events and activities (e.g., assemblies, spirit nights, field trips, and sporting events) to allow time for local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation and help the school determine appropriate next steps, including whether such a suspension needs to be extended to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19.  In situations where schools are cohorting students (e.g., in pods) administrators may choose to close the building in places (e.g., classrooms, common areas) where others were exposed to the infected person. In the event that local health officials do not recommend building or classroom closures, thoroughly cleaning the areas where the infected person spent significant time should be considered.
  • Local health officials’ recommendations whether to suspend school or events and the duration such suspensions should be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and taking into account local case-counts, and the degree of ongoing transmission in the community.

Students with disabilities or special healthcare needs

Plan for accommodations, modifications, and assistance for children and youth with disabilities and special healthcare needs

A customized and individualized approach for COVID-19 may be needed for children and youth with disabilities who have limited mobility; have difficulty accessing information due to visual, hearing, or other limiting factors; require close contact with direct service providers; have trouble understanding information; have difficulties with changes in routines; or have other concerns related to their disability. This approach should account for the following:

  • Education should remain accessible for children in special education who have a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program.
  • Social distancing and isolating at school may be difficult for many people with disabilities.
  • Wearing masks may be difficult for people with certain disabilities (e.g., visual or hearing impairments) or for those with sensory, cognitive, or behavioral issues.
  • Students may require assistance or visual and verbal reminders to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash their hands afterwards.
  • Where service or therapy animals are used, use guidance to protect the animal from COVID-19.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting procedures may negatively affect students with sensory or respiratory issues.
  • Students may require assistance or supervision washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Cleaning and disinfecting personal belongings, school objects, or surfaces may require assistance or supervision.
  • Behavioral techniques can help all students, adjust to changes in routines and take preventive actions. These techniques may be especially beneficial for some children with disabilities and may include modeling and reinforcing desired behaviors and using picture schedules, timers, and visual cues. Organizations that support individuals with disabilities have information and resources to help schools with these behavioral techniques. In addition, behavioral therapists or local mental health or behavioral health agencies may be able to provide consultation for specific concerns.

Follow guidance for Direct Service Providers (DSPs)

Direct Service Providers (personal care attendants, direct support professionals, paraprofessionals, therapists, and others) provide a variety of home and community-based, health-related services that support individuals with disabilities. Services provided may include assistance with activities of daily living, access to health services, and more. DSPs are essential for the health and well-being of the individuals they serve.

  • Ask Direct Service Providers (DSPs) before they enter school if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. If DSPs provide services in other schools, ask specifically whether any of the other schools have had positive cases. For guidance related to screening of staff (to include DSPs), please refer to CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the Prevent Transmission Among Employees section of CDC’s Resuming Business Toolkitpdf icon
  • If there is potential that a DSP may be splashed or sprayed by bodily fluids during their work, they should use standard precautions to avoid getting infected. They will need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including a facemask, eye protection, disposable gloves, and a gown.
  • CDC has developed guidance for DSPs. School administrators should review the DSP guidance and ensure that DSPs needing to enter the school are aware of those preventive actions.


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