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Considerations for Vulnerable Populations

Physically Vulnerable Students

It is especially important to protect students, staff and faculty at increased risk for severe illnesses from COVID-19. People at increased risk are those with pre-existing conditions, immunocompromised, older age, or those with family members who are sick. Students with asthma, respiratory problems, immunocompromised, other underlying neurologic, genetic, metabolic, and developmental conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children. Students and faculty who live with at-risk individuals must be provided with extra precautions.

Every member of the school community should be encouraged to discuss their risks and concerns with school nurses/healthcare personnel. Any individual who falls within categories of high risk should be permitted to work/study remotely. Necessary supplies, such as laptops and high-speed internet, should be provided. If needed, the school administration can reassign roles to allow at-risk faculties to work while staying safe. Schools should provide adequate personal protective equipment, supervision, and other protections based on each individual's risk. Accommodations should be granted case-by-case upon request. Extra precaution must be taken to protect the privacy of high-risk individuals.

Socially Vulnerable Students

Schools should also be prepared to help socially vulnerable students. Socially vulnerable students include, but are not limited to, those who are uninsured, homeless, those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status, undocumented students, those in foster care and/or group homes, and those living in unstable environments. Protecting these students is both a moral and ethical obligation. Students with limited resources must be provided with the necessary supplies, technology, and support to ensure a safe and adequate academic environment.

Academically Vulnerable Students

Some students with learning disabilities may encounter difficulties with virtual learning platforms. Extra tutoring and academic resources may be beneficial to these children. Teachers and guardians must work together to provide the best learning environment for these students

Vulnerable Staff and Teachers

Schools should be safe for teachers and other staff. Persons who are over the age of 65 years, who have underlying medical conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, and others are advised to teach virtually, or at the very least, teach using extra precautions.