We've seen more than 180,000 new COVID-19 cases among children over the last two weeks, levels we haven't seen since the previous surge over the winter, according to the most recent numbers shared by The American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's not considering revising guidelines for schools, and that most outbreaks are happening in schools where the agency's recommendations aren't in place.
Some schools are now bringing in outside COVID-19 liaisons as they navigate keeping kids safe.
AM LLC is one company that's been working with districts across Southern California.
“To be able to sort of shift that burden over to someone who can focus solely on COVID, who's an expert, who knows how to handle these situations, can really alleviate that burden that COVID has placed on schools,” said Sarah David, RN, the Chief Knowledge Officer at AM LLC.
The COVID-19 liaisons are taking on everything from contact tracing and testing to combating vaccine misinformation in collaboration with schools.
The nurse who helped develop the program says having a mask recommendation in schools can greatly reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, but she sees another strategy as just as important.
“Being able to divert those individuals to an isolation area, instead of funneling through the health room is an excellent infection control measure to keep individuals with potential COVID away from individuals that don't have COVID,” said David.
AM LLC says its COVID-19 response team has already traced nearly 900 COVID-19 cases and prevented two major outbreaks in schools in Southern California so far this school year.
Schools in Vermont, Maryland, and Georgia are also considering these liaisons.
The schools in Southern California have been using grant money to pay for this service so they don't have to tap into the district's budget.