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The risk of opening schools: Flexibility, planning needed



With President Donald Trump demanding the campus to welcome students during the fall and many large school districts around the country announcing that school will only continue, risk management teams are struggling with how to safely continue in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. [19659002] Although various studies have found that most children are minimally affected when contracting COVID-19, the safety of teachers and other school workers is a growing problem.

The political controversy surrounding school openings is taking place against the background of growing infections in some regions and decisions by some states to return to previous levels of closure.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 1

9 provided guidance to schools, which include social distance and cleaning protocols, but teachers' unions have argued that the guidance may not be practical or affordable for already banded school systems.

For example, the CDC's call for improved ventilation systems in schools is a challenge, as many schools have outdated systems, says Heather Sorge, campaign organizer for Healthy Schools Now, an initiative of the New Jersey Work Environment Council in Trenton, which released on Thursday. a statement demanding more guidance and resources.

"By its very nature, schools are an environment conducive to the spread of disease, including COVID-19," the statement said. "They are closely occupied for long periods and have a well-documented history of deferred maintenance that has led to well-known problems with ventilation and indoor air and plumbing and cleaning challenges."

The school area has few concrete alternatives, experts say.

"Whatever you see, I can promise it will change," said Dorothy Gjerdrum, St. Paul, Minnesota-based Chief Executive Officer K-12 with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. "Everyone is worried about how we are going to do this. There's a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding it." Insurance resource management resources The guidelines include information on health and safety, containment and monitoring of the virus and other risk management issues such as discrepancies.Practical guidance includes measures related to phasing students and staff on campus, cleaning, keeping groups small and distant and creating a team on campus

The guidelines specifically include providing personal protective equipment to teachers and support staff, requiring students to wear face masks, limiting the number of students in classrooms, and cleaning surfaces at least twice a day.

Monitoring premises and CDC guidance is important, says Melanie Bennett, riskhan United Educators. "Schools that have decided to resume on campus should really take a look at the health and safety in their area," she said. What do governments say? Does the municipality have sufficient public services to reopen? "

Flexibility and planning will be key," said Matt Hinton, a New York-based partner with Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd., which provides risk management services to K-12 districts, colleges and universities and other organizations.

Control risks apply some of the same protocols to open schools that were applied to companies after closure, he said, adding that schools have an advantage when looking at how companies managed the risks and continue to do so.

He recommends a "scenario analysis" that takes into account scenarios with best cases and worst cases that can guide schools in creating plans for what could happen if certain triggers occur, e.g. infections. "If infections hit a certain level, the transition to online," he said, adding that preparations for alternatives allow schools to better manage the risk of spreading.

"You could potentially get ahead of these triggers and be proactive instead of reactive," he said.

Infections among teachers are also a problem, as is helping to cover medical costs and loss of income in the event of long-term illness – cornerstones of workers 'compensation insurance, which teachers' unions across the country want to address before schools open, according to media reports.

COVID-19 infections are most problematic for the elderly and those with comorbidities such as diabetes and heart disease. On the peak day for reported COVID-19 deaths on April 18, CDC data revealed that 13,318 deaths were among people 65 or older compared to 3,059 deaths among those between 25 and 64 years of age.

Two states – California and Illinois – have laws stating that workers contracting COVID-19 probably caught it at work clearing a workers' comp bureaucracy. Traditionally, infectious diseases are not covered by workers' skills.

Data on workers becoming ill in states that allow COVID-19 labor components are limited, although some third-party administrators have begun to track claims.

Concord, California-based third-party administrator Athens Insurance Service Inc. released a July 8 report finding that among all COVID-19 applicants – most of whom came from California medical staff – 2.7% of cases involved hospitalization and 0.03 % resulted in death.

Douglas Gibb, executive director of workers' compensation for Athens, said "most of the people have had the least symptoms and are getting better." TPA provides services to schools across the country and could see an uptick in cases of openings, he said. "We make (schools) aware of what we see on a vehicle front."

Corvel Corp., an Irvine, California-based TPA, reported that COVID-19 claims that resulted in hospitalization accounted for less than 5% of

"The number of COVID-19-related deaths is very low to date and less than 1 % of the notifications, "said Michele Tucker, Corvel's vice president of business.

School-specific information on infections is also difficult to provide, as most schools close in mid-March. The New York City Department of Education on June 22 released a statement saying that 75 of its school-based employees, including 31 teachers, had died in the pandemic. Schools closed on March 16 because New York was a legacy of COVID-19 infections. The area employs 75,000 teachers and a total of 135,000 workers. The deaths were reported by families, according to the department's website.


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