The Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that all students and staff undergo mandatory health screenings before beginning classes at their local high schools, and a recent report from the American Psychological Association warns that mandatory health checks could make students feel less safe on college campuses.
The recommendations are in response to a rash of cases of coronavirus-related illness among students and teachers at schools in the Bay Area, according to an April report by the National Governors Association.
In the Bay area alone, nearly 20 students have tested positive for the coronaviruses, including one student who tested positive during a class visit, and three teachers and four students have had to be hospitalized, according the APA report.
The state of California and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also investigating the possible link between the new coronaviral coronavax (COVID-19) testing guidelines and the cases of illness and deaths reported at California high schools.
The new coronovirus guidelines include recommendations to screen students for COVID-20 at school and to keep students out of the community for a minimum of 48 hours before beginning any activities, according in a statement released Tuesday by the Department of Public Health.
The CDC is also recommending that schools provide a designated area at least three times per week for COVEV-2 testing.
Students who test positive for COVI-20 can be required to remain in the designated area for 48 hours, the APAs report states.
The guidelines do not specify what steps schools should take to prevent exposure.
“All students, staff, and faculty should take prompt and appropriate steps to avoid becoming sick or injured from exposure to COVID,” according to the APSA.
“This includes: • Making sure that students do not stay at home during the peak of the outbreak and are not exposed to COVE-19 or other respiratory viruses; • Ensuring that students are screened for COVR-2 and other respiratory virus during the testing period and, if needed, tested for COVS-2; • Encouraging all students to take a short break from school to be tested and to not return to school for 48 to 72 hours before continuing any activities; • Notifying students, faculty, and staff of any additional health issues, and taking steps to ensure that any additional concerns are communicated to them.
The APAs recommendations also say that schools should provide students with information about the importance of staying home, including information on how to get vaccinated and what to do if they do become ill.
As this pandemic continues to unfold, we will monitor the situation in California closely to determine whether additional actions are needed, and will update our recommendations when the data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services becomes available,” it said.