Schools across the country have begun to reopen. Some students are already going for in-person classes, while other schools are planning to start the new academic year online. While each school or school district has the final say about the method of reopening, state health departments have released different sets of guidelines for safely reopening schools — guidelines that have sometimes been criticized for being somewhat vague and confusing.
The guidelines each state department has released are only a guidance and not a mandate. They offer advice on what schools should require from students, parents, and staff in order to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed executive orders, directives, and guidelines issued by either governors or education and health departments to create a list of restrictions and safety recommendations for resuming in-person instruction in every state.
Though the recommendations vary largely from state to state, classes across the country will all look very different this fall than they did in March, when schools were suddenly ordered to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While schools in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago, which are some of the largest school districts in the country, have already decided the fall semester of the new academic year will be held full-time online, schools in Florida are mandated to provide in-person class option for parents. Schools in Tampa prepared to begin classes online full time for the first four weeks, but Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected the plan.
Parents across the country are unsure of how safe it is for their children to return to the classroom and the lack of specific rules and regulations is frustrating them. In South Carolina, for example, private schools are noting increased interest, with many parents unhappy with the public systems’ plans for reopening.
Many of the requirements and suggestions for opening schools are dependent on whether communities have been able to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Most states’ guidelines were released at the beginning or in the middle of June, before a resurgence of COVID-19 infections was reported across the country — here are the states where the virus is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).