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CDC publishes flowcharts to help communities and businesses weighing whether to reopen

The one-page decision trees are much shorter than a much-anticipated, lengthy and detailed document that has been delayed at least once.
By Maggie Fox, CNN

    (CNN) -- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published six "decision trees" Thursday aimed at helping businesses, communities, schools, camps, daycares and mass transit decide whether it's safe to re-open.

The one-page decision trees are much shorter than a much-anticipated, lengthy and detailed document that has been delayed at least once.

The six documents posted on the CDC's website Thursday provide step-by-step guidance advising employers, for instance, to encourage social distancing, handwashing and intensified cleaning.

They do not provide any detailed advice on when it would be safe for schools or business to open -- only questions to ask before making any decisions.

"The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community," the workplace decision tree reads.

For schools, the decision tree asks: "Will reopening be consistent with applicable state and local orders? Is the school ready to protect children and employees at higher risk for severe illness? Are you able to screen students and employees upon arrival for symptoms and history of exposure?" If the answer to any question is no, the CDC advises, do not open.

For camps, the advice includes screening. "If feasible, implement enhanced screening for children and employees who have recently been present in areas of high transmission, including temperature checks and symptom monitoring," the decision tree reads.

"Are you ready to protect employees at higher risk for severe illness?" the mass transit tree asks.

The decision trees are very similar, with small adjustments to account for the differences between daycare, for example, and restaurants.

They stress flexible leave policies -- something public health experts say is vital to controlling the spread of infectious disease. US employment practices are frequently criticized because they discourage workers from taking sick days.

Full guidance for the pandemic is on the CDC's website. It was not immediately clear what further guidance might be coming from the CDC, or when it might come.

The-CNN-Wire
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