Philadelphia, PA - As Philadelphia schoolchildren return to classes, the District of Public Health is taking extra steps to protect their health and prevent the spread of diseases. It will offer free tests for kids whose parents submit a consent form ahead of time. It will also continue to offer free testing in five school-based locations. The district is also monitoring the spread of monkeypox. Although most cases are in adults, the district urges children to vaccinate, including booster shots.
Philadelphia Kid Head Back to School With New Health Measures
Despite the health risks, the Philadelphia School District has kept most schools open this week. It also put out new guidance for the K-12 classroom based on recommendations from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Policy Lab. The recommendations were designed to improve health outcomes for kids.
However, some local school districts are easing the COVID guidelines. The CDC draft document outlines the rationale for changing the guidelines but does not include the final changes. The draft changes could deemphasize the "test-to-stay" strategy, which requires students exposed to the virus to take regular tests to stay in class. In addition, the CDC could relax the health guidelines, allowing schools to relax some of their strict social distancing measures.
Schools in Philadelphia will also sanitize their buildings and air before students return for the start of the school year. They will also require students to wear masks for the first ten days. After that, the district could make the decision to go mask-optional. The decision on mask use depends on the COVID-19 transmission rate in the school area and CDC guidelines.
The new guidance from the CDC also emphasizes layered preventative measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It no longer recommends quarantining and universal case investigation, but it does recommend handwashing and ventilation. In the meantime, parents should not delay the vaccination process for their children.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused several health problems for children. While many experts agree that children are less susceptible to the illness, there are some children who experience severe illness after the diagnosis. Still, the vaccine provides effective protection. Unfortunately, vaccination rates for younger children have stagnated.