February 28, 2020 – Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Interim Guidance to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available. Please check the following CDC website periodically for updated interim guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Health officials are currently taking steps to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 into US communities. Schools can play an important role in this effort. Through collaboration and coordination with local health departments, schools can take steps to disseminate information about the disease and its potential transmission within their school community. Schools can prepare to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their students and staff should local health officials identify such a need.
Schools should continue to collaborate, share information, and review plans with local health officials to help protect the whole school community, including those with special health needs. School plans should be designed to minimize disruption to teaching and learning and protect students and staff from social stigma and discrimination. Plans can build on everyday practices (e.g., encouraging hand hygiene, monitoring absenteeism, communicating routinely) that include strategies for before, during, and after a possible outbreak.
Who is this guidance for?”
This interim guidance is intended to help administrators of public and private childcare programs and K-12 schools prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff. Administrators are individuals who oversee the daily operations of childcare programs and K-12 schools, and may include positions like childcare program directors, school district superintendents, principals, and assistant principals. This guidance is intended for administrators at both the school/facility and district level.
Why is this guidance being issued?
Information provided should help childcare programs, schools, and their partners understand how to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within childcare and school communities and facilities. It also aims to help childcare programs, schools, and partners to react quickly should a case be identified. The guidance includes considerations to help administrators plan for the continuity of teaching and learning if there is community spread of COVID-19.
What is the role of schools in responding to COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) virus, and we are learning more about it every day. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. At this point, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes it. Stopping transmission (spread) of the virus through everyday practices is the best way to keep people healthy. Get more information on COVID-19.
Schools, working together with local health departments, have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases to help ensure students have safe and healthy learning environments. Schools serve students, staff, and visitors from throughout the community. All of these people may have close contact in the school setting, often sharing spaces, equipment, and supplies.