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IDSA urges for a layered approach to COVID-19 prevention in schools


To protect children and staff at schools, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has recommended using multiple science-based approaches to prevent spread in schools.

The first few weeks of the 2021-2022 school year have been filled with fights over masks, many children and staff needing to quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19, and worries about children transmitting the delta variant to vulnerable family members at home. The Infectious Diseases Society of America has issued a statement to urge school system across the United States to use available tools and strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with the return to in-person learning.1

Science-based guidance that schools should have students and staff follow include:

  • All eligible people should be vaccinated
  • Require universal mask wearing in school and on school busses
  • Maintain social distance protocols
  • Do activities outside, when feasible
  • Maximize ventilation, including opening windows when permitted by weather
  • Encourage children and staff to stay home when sick

Utilizing this guidance is particularly important as many children are not old enough to receive the vaccine and vaccination rates are lagging in many areas around the country, leaving many vulnerable to the delta variant.


1. Infectious Diseases Society of America. Infectious diseases experts call for layered strategy to protect students and school employees. Published August 30, 2021. Accessed September 1, 2021. https://www.idsociety.org/news--publications-new/articles/2021/infectious-diseases-experts

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Tina Tan, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS, editor in chief, Contemporary Pediatrics, professor of pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, pediatric infectious diseases attending, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
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