New guidelines issued Feb. 12 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintained that closed schools can reopen for some level of in-person learning if they follow well-established safety measures such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing.  

The latest CDC guidelines, released as a transcript of a briefing by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, paired color-coded risk levels with specific recommendations on whether schools should be fully open, fully remote, or offer a hybrid of in-person instruction and virtual learning.  

While the CDC recommended that teachers be given priority for vaccination, the agency also said that, if schools strictly adhere to guidelines, they can safely reopen if teachers are not vaccinated.  

The NJSBA has made availablesample resolution urging the state to give priority for COVID-19 vaccinations to educators. A link to that resolution was in the Jan. 26 edition of School Board Notes.

Also on Feb. 12, the U.S. Department of Education released the “COVID-19 Handbook: Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools.” The handbook provides practical examples and roadmaps to provide educators and staff with the tools they need to implement the CDC’s recommended safe practices for in-person learning.