BENTON, Ark.— One month from today, on August 24, students will head back to school in Arkansas.
Overnight, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) put out new guidelines for reopening and put emphasis on getting children back in the classroom.
The new guidelines are less strict than the ones put out a few weeks ago after President Trump criticized the CDC saying the old ones were too tough and expensive
Still, some parents worry it will not be enough to keep their children safe.
“’I’m nervous because one of them has asthma,” said Melissa Lozano.
Lozano is a mother of five and has three children in the Benton Public School District.
She says she has until July 30 to decide if her children will go back to school in the fall or opt for virtual learning.
“I’m still not sure if she’s going back,” said Lozano, referencing her 2nd grader with asthma.
Some of the CDC’s guidelines for schools in the fall echo what they’ve told other entities since the beginning of the pandemic—suggesting students and teachers wash their hands, practice social distancing, and disinfect surfaces regularly.
Lozano worries the guidelines may not be enough to keep her children safe next month.
“It’s important for them to be there but at the same time it’s important for them to stay alive and not have this disease so I’m not sure,” Lozano said.
Isabella Bradley, the PIO for Benton Public Schools, says it is a tough decision to balance, but their priority is keeping the Panther community safe.
“I think it’s every school district across the state that is really struggling to make sure that we’re keeping students safe and making sure they have the best education possible,” said Bradley.
She says students will be required to wear masks and sanitize their hands when going in and out of their classrooms.
“It’s mounted to the wall, so the minute that kids walk in, they can hit that sanitizer right away.
Still, Lozano says a decision effecting her kids’ health is one only a parent can weigh.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to do,” said Lozano
In addition to the new CDC guidelines, Bradley says they are also telling parents in the district that if your child is not feeling well to keep them home. That way she says other kids can stay safe if they’re back in the classroom.