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Media Contact:

Lisa Black

Making sure children meet vaccination requirements will be key to preventing spread of other diseases.

The American Academy of Pediatrics today issued guidance on preparing for schools to reopen, emphasizing the need for school officials to work with local and state health departments to decide when and how to safely invite students back to the classroom. The decision will depend on factors such as local and national incidence and control of COVID-19; the availability of testing and monitoring procedures; and the implementation of measures to limit spread of the coronavirus, such as appropriate disinfectant and sanitizing procedures, use of masks and limiting interactions of students. The AAP notes that schools will need to prepare for intermittent closures of schools in the event of COVID-19 infections, and consider options to allow for a phased re-opening, such as beginning with reduced hours by grade level. The guidance addresses the significant impact of lost instructional time on students, particularly for those with disabilities, and the risk of student distress if academic expectations are unrealistic. The AAP guidance also covers:

  • Reducing the  risks for other vaccine-preventable diseases by continuing to prioritize immunization adherence during this critical period.
  • Nutritional needs and the need for meal service in non-congregate settings.
  • The need to develop Individual Educational Plans for students with disabilities before they return to school.
  • Prioritizing onsite school-based health services, if available.
  • Athletics, the need for preparticipation sports physicals to be conducted, and the likelihood that sporting practices and events will likely be limited in many locations.
  • Mental health, with a need to ensure that teachers and personnel are trained to talk with and support students who show signs of anxiety or distress.
  • Environmental considerations that include protocol for isolating sick children and staff identified during the school day, and restrictions on the size of groups meeting.

The guidance can be found here. To interview an expert, contact AAP Public Affairs.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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