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Schools across the US are grappling with the reality of possibly returning to the classroom at a time of surging COVID-19 cases across the nation. While recent studies have suggested that children are not as susceptible to the severe symptoms of the virus as are adults and the elderly, it is still unclear if schools can reopen safely while protecting the health of teachers, parents, and staff.
President Donald Trump has said that all schools must reopen in the fall and has threatened to pull federal funding from those who do not. Still, rising cases of COVID-19 in California have forced schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco to cancel in-person classes, while New York City, the former epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, has imposed strict benchmarks that must be met before schools are allowed to reopen.
Internationally, in countries where cases of COVID-19 are on the decline, some schools are reopening cautiously and with new social distancing guidelines. For students allowed to return to in-person learning, there is an increased focus of sanitation and social distancing — lunches, activities, and playtimes are staggered throughout the day and face masks are mandatory. Despite these safety precautions, cities like Hong Kong, which reopened schools in May, at a time when the pandemic appeared under control, are now facing a third wave of infections and have been forced to once again close their public schools.
These pictures show how some international schools are attempting to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.