In news that is sure to be music to some parents' ears and worrisome to others, the American Academy of Pediatrics has taken a clear stand on the issue of in-person school come September.
In a statement posted to its website, the AAP wrote that it "strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."
The AAP stressed the importance of school in children's lives.
"Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide our children and adolescents with academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits," the APP said. "Beyond supporting the educational development of children and adolescents, schools play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity."
The stance came as part of a list of recommendations for safe re-entry to schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the six recommendations were:
- School policies must be flexible and nimble in responding to new information and administrators must be willing to refine approaches when specific policies are not working.
- Special considerations and accommodations to account for the diversity of youth should be made, especially for our vulnerable populations, including those who are medically fragile, live in poverty, have developmental challenges, or have special health care needs or disabilities, with the goal of safe return to school.
- Policies should be practical, feasible and appropriate for child and adolescent's developmental stage.
Dr. Susan Coffin, an attending physician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pediatric Infectious Disease, agreed.
"I do think it is very important that students get back to school for social, psychological as well as intellectual development," she told "Good Morning America."
The AAP recognized differing needs for students when it comes to school re-entry. For example, while it may not work for younger children to wear face coverings, older kids are recommended to do so. Physical distancing, special education and bussing are all addressed.