UW Health offers recommendations for safe return to school

Teacher Classroom

MADISON, Wis. — As many school districts in southern Wisconsin are working on finalizing their back-to-school safety plans, pediatricians at UW Health are weighing in on what a safe return to the classroom should look like.

While the pediatricians believe in-person learning is best for kids, they are stressing proper infection control processes as schools re-open.

“We have learned so much in the past year and we have so much more data to guide our decisions going forward,” said UW Health pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Gregory DeMuri. “Now that we have this information, it is our job to use what we’ve learned. If we do that, kids can return to school and near-normal activities.”

UW Health’s recommendations for local schools include:

  • Masks for students, teachers and staff regardless of vaccination status, which they say would allow schools to largely operate normally
  • Maintaining 3 feet of physical distance when possible, but distancing can be reduced in classrooms and on buses if everyone is masked
  • Vaccinations for students aged 12 and older, as well as teachers and staff
  • Good hand-washing practices and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes)
  • Sick students, teachers or staff staying home when they aren’t feeling well

The Madison Metropolitan School District announced its back-to-school COVID safety plan a little less than two weeks ago, which follows many of the recommendations offered by UW Health.

It includes requiring everyone inside MMSD buildings and buses to wear masks, three feet of social distancing when possible, scheduled cleaning of buildings throughout the day, and stressing the importance of hygiene. Masks will not be required for outdoor activities or when eating or drinking.