Reopening Schools Requires Evidence-Based Strategies for Facilities Preparation
Alexandria, VA – As state leaders prepare for the reopening of school buildings, the health and safety of students and staff is foremost on their minds. A new NASBE policy update argues that these leaders must take a close look at the care and operations of school facilities and adopt evidence-based strategies to create and maintain safe and healthy spaces for learning.
Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress appropriated $100 million to states for expenses associated with cleaning and disinfecting schools among other uses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently released guidance on safe cleaning practices, chemical usage, personal protective equipment, frequent handwashing, and social distance practices to mitigate the spread of the disease in a school setting. State boards of education can support the dissemination of this knowledge, advocate for funding and material resources, and partner with state education agencies to ensure guidance aligns with federal recommendations and addresses equity concerns.
“States should ensure that districts with less capacity to manage operations, less knowledge of strategies to limit infectious disease, or without detailed closure and reopening plans are not disadvantaged at a time when all schools need guidance to ensure the safety of all individuals that come in contact with the school building,” write NASBE’s Megan Blanco and Erika Eitland of Perkins & Will.
NASBE serves as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at www.nasbe.org