What will the coming school year look like? Sara Bode, MD, of the AAP Council on School Health, discusses strategies for a live return to classroom learning.

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Date: Aug. 2021
From: Contemporary Pediatrics(Vol. 38, Issue 8)
Publisher: Intellisphere, LLC
Document Type: Interview
Length: 1,430 words
Lexile Measure: 1190L

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As we were going to press with this issue, the American Academy of Pediatrics had just released its COVID-19 guidance for schools, which recommended, among other things, universal masking in school for everyone aged 2 years and older. Sara Bode is associate director of the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); deputy editor of Pediatric Care online, incoming chair of the AAP Council on School Health; and author of the AAP's current interim school guidance, which was being finalized as we went to press. Bode spoke with Contemporary Pediatrics[R] about what the 2021-2022 school year will look like as some (but not all) restrictions become more relaxed around COVID-19 protocols.

What do you consider the biggest challenges right now as children prepare to return to school this fall?

Bode: First, just as a background statement, the Council on School Health and the AAP have always had a strong statement about the goal being to get kids back to in-person learning. We knew that remote learning was not going to be ideal for both academic learning and social and emotional health, and that is still our North Star. It remains our focus: to continue to help schools work through what they need to do for every student and do it safely.

I think the biggest challenges different communities across the country are facing is changing their mandates around mitigation measures in public around masking and distancing. It is thinking about what that means for students back in the school environment, because they're a unique group, especially for kids less than 12 years, who, right now, aren't eligible for vaccines, as well as for older children who have special health care needs and can't get vaccinated or may be at risk. How do we do all in-person learning safely?

How do we get schools back to all in-person learning but still maintain a safe environment?

Bode: One of the biggest things, which has already changed from last year, was physical distancing. As an example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations started with 6 ft of physical distancing between students,...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A676131330