Giving Compass' Take:

• A new analysis indicates that there should be deliberate and intentional caution when reopening schools, and calls for the expansion of school-based health centers. 

• How can donors help with this expansion and contribute to safety plans regarding reopening? 

• Read more about exercising caution when re-opening schools.

The authors advocate for large-scale viral testing in children, contract tracing, and other actions to avoid compounding the COVID-19 crisis.

The analysis can serve as a roadmap not only in California but nationwide, according to Dan Cooper, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine.

The reopening of schools, which have been closed since mid-March, is viewed as essential to jump-starting the economy. The authors note that in the US, 40% of families have school-aged children and in more than 90% of these households at least one parent is employed outside the home.

“In the US, in an urgent attempt to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and save lives, the nationwide closure of K-12 schools occurred rapidly,” the article states.

“Planning for schools reopening must be more deliberate, delineating precisely how, when, under what conditions, and base the reopening on available data.”

Although severe COVID-19 is uncommon in children, more community-based data is needed to determine whether most children avoid infection, or if infected, largely are asymptomatic—hence, “large-scale viral nucleic acid and serological testing in children is needed to guide safe school reopening,” Cooper and his colleague recommend.

Cooper and his co-authors call for the expansion of school-based health centers as schools reopen and a review and adjustment of programs such as federally assisted school-based meal plans “to meet the unprecedented circumstances.” Many parents and caregivers, Cooper notes, are becoming unemployed with each passing week.

Read the full article about reopening schools by Tom Vasich at Futurity.