Schools across the country have begun to reopen, and the traditional school day has been overhauled. Social distancing, temperature checks at the door, mask wearing, and one-way hallways are now the new norm.
State health departments have released different sets of guidelines for safely reopening schools. These guidelines are not mandates, and the final decisions on how to reopen their schools lie within each school district.
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.
The guidelines aim at preventing transmission among students; however, that may be difficult to achieve. Some schools in the South and Midwest have had to close just days after reopening for in-person instruction as both staff and students tested positive for COVID-19.
Across the country, teachers are threatening to strike or call in sick — they already have done so in some states — over fears the current protocols put in place are not sufficient to ensure everyone’s safety. America’s Federation for Teachers, the largest and most powerful teacher’s union in the country, said it would support any local chapters that choose to strike over schools’ reopening plans.
Many of the requirements and suggestions for opening schools depend on whether communities have been able to contain the spread of the coronavirus locally. Most states’ guidelines were released at the beginning or in the middle of June, before a resurgence in COVID-19 cases was reported across the country in June and July — here are the states where the virus is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).