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Schools play a critical role in promoting equity in learning and health, especially in groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. People living in rural areas, people with disabilities, immigrants, and people who identify as American Indian / Alaska Native, Black / African American, Hispanic / Latino were disproportionately affected by COVID-19; these inequalities were also visible among children. For these reasons, equity considerations in access to health related to kindergarten through 12th grade school settings are a critical part of the decision-making process and were included in the updated CDC guide for schools. School administrators and public health officials can ensure safe and supportive environments, and bring peace of mind to families, teachers, and staff members, by planning and implementing comprehensive prevention strategies for face-to-face teaching and communicating such initiatives. Schools can work in coordination with parents to find out their preferences and concerns regarding face-to-face classes.
School administrators can promote health equity by ensuring that all students, teachers, and staff members have the resources necessary to care for their physical and mental health. School administrators can offer to modify the job responsibilities of staff most at risk of serious illness and who are not fully vaccinated, while safeguarding their individual privacy. Federal and state disability laws may require an individualized approach to working with children and youth with disabilities, consistent with the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individualized Education Program (IEP), its acronym) or the child’s or youth’s Section 504 plan. Administrators should evaluate adaptations and alternatives to prevention strategies if serving individuals with disabilities , while maintaining efforts to protect all children and employees from COVID-19.