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Getting kids safely back-to-school

Posted at 6:38 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 20:38:26-04

As we look toward students and teachers safely returning to school in the coming weeks, Dr. Amy Khan, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah is sharing recommendations found after a study of other states and countries where schools have successfully opened amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kahn explained that getting kids safely back in the classroom this fall requires collaboration. "Our primary goals are to provide a safe learning environment for students and a safe workplace for teachers and school personnel," she said.

Regence and its parent company Cambia Health Solutionsrecently conducted a survey of seven other states and five countries and found some recurring theme like being nimble, flexible and creative.

According to the survey, here are some additional considerations to keep in mind as we begin a new school year:

  • What is right for one school, district or community may not be right for another
  • Establish a virtual platform that engages and supports parents, students and teachers
  • Follow safety guidelines that reduce risk for teachers, school staff and students
  • Confirm contingency plans for continued learning due to increases in COVID-19 cases
  • Collaborate with public health to help contain and control outbreaks

"It’s reassuring that much of the emerging global evidence related to safe reopening aligns with the recommendations and guidelines in Utah’s school manual," said Khan.

The manual contains guidelines released by the state and our local health departments focusing on what to do if a student, teacher or employee is exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive. It also highlights how to make a healthy learning environment and protect your school. You can download the full manual here.

As the school year gets underway, it is important that schools and families identify best practices and lessons learned, and adapt accordingly. What works now, may be different in a few weeks, and schools and families will need to work together to ensure a successful school year.