The CDC Released A Back-To-School Decision Making Tool

by Julie Scagell
The CDC Released A Back-To-School Decision Making Tool

The guide looks at factors such as academic and socio-emotional wellbeing

Parents are being inundated with information about how, and if, schools plan to reopen this fall. It’s an overwhelming decision and one that is unique to each family. As such, the CDC has released a guide that may help parents and guardians weigh the pros and cons and feel more informed in doing so.

The guide, which is a free, downloadable PDF questionnaire, lists a series of questions that can help families determine the best path to learning for the upcoming school year. Obviously, the state and local health officials will weigh in for each school district as well, but this tool can be used for parents to decide if an all-virtual option exists, whether it makes the most sense for their child.


“As schools begin to reopen across the nation, parents, guardians, and caregivers will be making decisions based on numerous factors, such as individual preferences, health concerns, work situations, and school considerations,” the CDC says on its website. “When making decisions about school for your family, there are many things to think about beyond academics, such as access to school meal programs, social services, extended day childcare, extra-curricular activities, social-emotional support from peers and educators, and transportation.”

The organization also lists the limited information we know about COVID and children, saying in part, “Limited data about COVID-19 in children suggest that children are less likely to get COVID-19 than adults, and when they do get COVID-19, they generally have less serious illness than adults.” This doesn’t, however, take into consideration school staff and people children come into contact with after leaving school grounds.

The CDC also talks about the benefits of children learning in-person, including “services and supports for children’s academic, social-emotional and physical health,” which is why parents are having such a difficult time making this decision.

In addition to the questionnaire, it also says schools must put into practice all measures to reduce the spread of the virus, like social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, wearing masks, and teaching children in smaller groups when possible.

“Recognizing that there may be many unknowns, answer each question with a check in the column that most closely reflects you and your family today,” the website says. “When you are finished, review your answers. Remember, each family is different so certain questions may be particularly important to you. Multiple checks in the ‘Unsure’ or ‘Disagree’ columns might warrant a conversation with school administrators, your healthcare provider, or your employer.”

This, of course, assumes your district has come out with information that allows parents and caregivers to make a more informed choice.