U.S. Pediatricians Urge Schools to Reopen for In-Person Teaching in the Fall

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is pushing for schools to reopen with students physically in the classrooms this fall.

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the nation, states are grappling on how to proceed with the upcoming academic year.

As school districts previously reverted to virtual teaching at the start of the outbreak in March, the AAP has now released a statement favoring having students return for in-person teaching for their own well-being, reported NPR.

"The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school," the group said on its website.

"The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.“

The organization fears keeping the children out of the classroom may lead to self-isolation and make identifying other issues more difficult.

“Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation,” the group said.

The AAP also outlined recommended safety protocols as they pertained to certain age groups.

Pre-kindergarten schools focus on hand hygiene, utilizing outdoor spaces and minimizing contact between children and adults. They also recommend face coverings on adults.

While elementary and high schools should implement universal face coverings on students and adults, social distancing and making sure desks are 3 to 6 feet apart.

Some school districts have already announced their reopening plans, which include a hybrid of in-school teaching and continuing with online instruction from home.

And while parents weigh whether or not to let their children return to the classrooms, teachers are also fearful of stepping back into schools.

"Our educators are overwhelmingly not comfortable returning to schools," Tina Williams, president of Fairfax County Federation of Teachers in Virginia, told the outlet. "They fear for their lives, the lives of their students and the lives of their families."

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