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Health and Safety Considerations for Reopening K-12 Schools

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With schools in the U.S. developing strategies to reopen following their closures for the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many important health and safety concerns that we must consider to protect students, teachers and staff. What will physical distancing look like within classrooms and in transportation to school? How will school health services change? What are the best methods for surveillance and testing? Will everyone need to wear masks?

On June 2, 2020, PolicyLab hosted a virtual conversation titled, “Health & Safety Considerations for Reopening K-12 Schools,” with educators, administrators and public health experts who shared their perspectives on these issues. The discussion was informed by PolicyLab’s comprehensive policy review of interventions to guide local jurisdictions and school administrators in their planning to safely reopen schools.

Panelists included:

  • David Rubin, MD, MSCE, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (moderator)
  • Susan Coffin, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and attending physician at CHOP
  • William Hite, Jr., EdD, superintendent, School District of Philadelphia
  • Molly Ticknor, MA, ATR, LPC, executive director, Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri
  • Matthew Stem, deputy secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education


Rubin DM, Coffin S, Hite W, Ticknor M, Stem M