Bucks health official already looking at COVID-19 guidelines for schools next fall

School classroom
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DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — With the new school year not far off, and districts tasked with drawing up plans to protect students from the coronavirus, Bucks County’s health director has some advice for what he calls a “a safe, and reasonably normal” reopening.

“We’ve been having discussions with all 13 Bucks County superintendents for months now, twice a week, and we all decided it was important we have a framework to work off," Dr. David Damsker, director of the county's health department, said.

Damsker says their guidelines are non-binding — each district can come up with its own plan — but he says one of the important guidelines is getting parents to keep sick kids home from school.

“For the foreseeable future, we have to say, 'Hey, I know my child’s sick. I know it’s going to be an inconvenience for me, but we need to keep this child, and that way we can keep schools opened.' And everybody needs to take that responsibility,” he said.

Among the other guidelines: 
  • Checking temperatures of both students and staff before going to school.
  • Masks should be required on buses, but not in classrooms — though children who want to wear them should be allowed.
  • Stagger class period end times to cut down on hallway traffic.
  • Follow WHO guidelines of three feet minimum between desks.
  • Stagger cafeteria seating, possibly with assigned seating.

Damsker says it’s early in the process and guidance could change as more is learned about the virus.