Schools in Arizona and elsewhere are preparing for the worst with the coronavirus, including school closures that could last up to 20 weeks.
Governors across the country have shut down schools in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who formally shuttered schools on Monday for the next two weeks.
Fox 10 reports:
Many districts continue to provide meals that kids usually get at school. Tempe Elementary School District is one of many offering breakfasts and lunches in a grab-and-go system at the schools.
But parents are concerned about their kids’ education and quality of life during the closure. Depending on how widespread COVID-19 becomes, school closures could be extended.
The CDC recommends in areas with high infection rates, that schools be closed for up to 20 weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control issued “Considerations for School Closure” that includes “recommendations on school closure based on available science, reports from other countries and consultation with school health experts.”
The data shows school closures don’t do much to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
“There is a role for school closure in response to school-based cases of COVID-19 for decontamination and contact tracing (few days of closure), in response to significant absenteeism of staff and students (short to medium length, i.e. 2-4 weeks of closure), or as part of a larger community mitigation strategy for jurisdictions with substantial community spread,” according to the document.
“Available modeling data indicate that early, short to medium closures do not impact the epi curve of COVID-19 or available health care measures (e.g., hospitalizations). There may be some impact of much longer closures, (8 weeks, 20 weeks) further into community spread, but that modelling also shows that other mitigation efforts (e.g., handwashing, home isolation) have more impact on both spread of disease and health care measures.
“In other countries, those places who closed school (e.g., Hong Kong) have not had more success in reducing spread than those that did not (e.g., Singapore).”
The CDC offers a “School Decision Tree” to manage the risk of the coronavirus, as well as “Factors for Consideration for School Closure,” which suggests that the decision by many governors to close schools for a couple weeks is ineffective and could make the situation worse.
“Closing schools early in the spread of disease for a short time (e.g., 2 weeks) will be unlikely to stem the spread of disease or prevent impact on the health care system, while causing significant disruption for families, schools, and those who may be responding to COVID-19 outbreaks in health care settings,” according to the CDC. “It may also increase impact on older adults who care for grandchildren.”
The CDC notes “social mixing may still occur outside of school with less ability to monitor, especially among older students.”
Closures will limit the spread of the coronavirus to school employees, but “will increase risk to older adults or those with co-morbidities, as almost 40% of US grandparents provide childcare for grandchildren,” the CDC reports. “School closures will likely increase this percentage.”