The National Parents Union Issue Warning to School Officials: Commit to a Safe Return to School Amid COVID-19 Variants; No Excuses to Learning Disruptions

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August 1, 2022– Boston, MA — The National Parents Union (NPU) is taking a no nonsense approach to COVID-19 contingency planning and urges school officials to adequately prepare for a successful return to school in the wake of new variants threatening another year of in-person learning and what continues to seem like an elusive return to normal for families and children.

Keri Rodrigues, Co-Founder and President of The National Parents Union, said the following statement:

“Back to school is on the horizon and already on the minds of millions of parents and families. While many public health officials have been talking about the new BA.5 variant and an upcoming surge that may potentially continue to coincide with schools opening up for another year, we haven’t heard enough from school officials to ensure that COVID-19 contingency plans are ready to go. Since summer began, we have been urging school leaders to do more to engage with parents when making decisions to ensure the needs of families and children are met and schools clearly communicate safety plans and changes in plans as public health concerns unfold in an urgent manner.

We cannot afford to lose any more time while we are still struggling to address the mental health crisis and education challenges our children are already facing. We expect our school leaders, superintendents, public health officials, state chiefs, governors and policy makers to be proactive, prepared and transparent around how we will handle this situation together moving forward – instead of reacting after the fact.”

The National Parents Union (NPU) believes that school officials should adhere to a Back to School COVID-19 Contingency Planning Checklist to keep schools open and safe this fall and winter. The National Parents Union strongly recommends the following:

  • Ensure schools update and/or replace air circulation systems.
  • Ensure schools have sufficient amounts of school-appropriate cleaning supplies to clean and disinfect high-touch areas and high-traffic areas multiple times throughout the day.
  • Ensure schools have sufficient supplies of hand sanitizers, soap, handwashing stations, tissues, and paper towels.
  • Ensure schools prioritize the use of outdoor space for learning activities.
  • Ensure contingency plans are in place to rearrange furniture to maintain separation and redesign activities for smaller groups of children.
  • In case of school closures, ensure all children have the electronic devices, books, games, etc. necessary to take home for at-home learning.
  • Ensure schools have a roster of additional trained staff and teachers in case of COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • Ensure schools provide educational materials to all families in case of COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • Ensure schools provide disposable masks for anyone on campus that wants one.


The National Parents Union is a network of highly effective parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country that is united behind a set of common goals and principles to channel the power of parents. Our family advocates improve the quality of life for children across the United States and define the education conversation.