For the AAP's School Reopening Guidance visit the AAP COVID-19 Resources page.
The decision on how to return to school this fall is an incredibly difficult one. Pediatricians, parents and educators all share the same goal of wanting children to be back in the classroom as much as possible, but we must do so in a way that is safe and feasible.
As pediatricians, we understand that children get so much more from school than just an education. They also learn social and emotional skills, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support and other things that cannot be provided with online learning. Schools play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity. This pandemic is especially hard on families who rely on school lunches, have limited access to the Internet or health care.
We also understand that COVID-19 does not seem to be impacting children nearly as severely as other respiratory illnesses. They tend to get infected less, suffer less extreme symptoms and are less likely to transmit the virus to others.
With these considerations in mind, AAP strongly advocates that the goal should be to have students physically present in school. This should happen with careful measures to keep students and staff safe, and with flexibility to adapt as needed to the community’s prevalence of COVID-19.
Schools will need new resources to keep students, teachers and staff safe. We understand the tremendous strain teachers have been under throughout this pandemic, and we empathize with the struggle that so many parents have been enduring as well.
We will continue doing what we’ve always done, which is to lean into the evidence, prioritize children’s health and safety, and use our platform to make a difference.