To help minimize the risk of viral spread at any in-person gatherings, experts have tended to stress the importance of wearing facemasks or other facial coverings, physical distance, and good hand hygiene. Well-ventilated rooms and buildings are also important.
The Arlington diocese’s schools have recommended mitigation actions for parents to take with their children before they leave home. The schools have implemented temperature checks in carpool lines, traffic patterns and mask protocols.
“We’re working together,” Vorbach said. “The gift of Catholic education is something that is cherished by all these folks, and trying to ensure that it could continue was a powerful goal.”
“For those who have been concerned or reluctant to return to in-person instruction, we now have a fairly robust amount of data that suggests that when the mitigation strategies are followed, schools can be very safe,” he said.
However, the diocese will also continue to operate a virtual school for any students unable to return to in-person instruction.
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Nationally, 79% of parents of K-12 students want in-person learning, Gallup reported March 11.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has said both mitigation measures at schools and community-wide measures to limit coronavirus spread are “vitally important” to keeping schools safe. Viral transmission in schools tends to mirror the transmission rate in the broader community, though schools appear not to be a significant factor in community transmission.
Children appear to be less vulnerable to severe cases of coronavirus infection, while the elderly and those with underlying health problems are among the most vulnerable.