Some schools reopened after the nationwide closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but following the reopening, a rumor circulated that health officials had recommended parents and guardians to plan ahead for a possible sudden sleepover at school.
The sleepover will happen in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, and now it includes COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC did, in fact, issue a statement, but it was taken out of context and was politicized.
The advice was published by Intellihub, a website that media background-checking tool Newsguard found to have promoted false theories and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Newsguard also stated that Intellihub has inconsistent information about its content creators.
The article in question read that the government must be "expecting some sort of disaster," which placed the CDC's advice in a paranoid context.
According to Intellihub's article, the CDC issued a three-step preparedness card questionnaire that asks parents the unthinkable and insinuates what should be done when it comes to protecting "your child during emergencies in school day."
The alleged guidelines also stated that parents must complete a backpack card would state extra medicines, special foods, or supplies that the child would need if separated overnight.
Intellihub did not mention COVID-19 when the article was released. The pandemic was added by Ohio Statehouse News on September 5, 2020.
The publication noted that the CDC was advising parents to prepare for a sudden sleepover for their children, in case of a disaster, which could include COVID-19.
The CDC did offer advice to schools for reopening amid the pandemic, including the "backpack emergency card" that is available on CDC's website.
In the advice, health experts recommended three steps for parents to take in order to ensure that their child is safe in case of an emergency or evacuation at school.
The advice includes asking how a parent or a guardian would be reunited with their child during an emergency, bringing extra medicines, special food, or supplies that a child might need if they were separated overnight.
The backpack emergency card should be kept in both the child's backpack and the parent's wallet. CDC did not specify if the backpack card was created for the 2020-2021 academic year or if the backpack emergency card had previously existed as a part of general emergency planning recommendations.
The Ohio Statehouse News article reported that the CDC had listed COVID-19 as a biological threat that may require children to suddenly sleep at school overnight.
Though it is true that the health agency included infectious diseases as a biological threat that may pose harm to children, the CDC specified that for an infectious disease to be considered a biological threat, it must be intentionally released.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 was released as a weapon by humans or intentionally released to cause harm to numerous countries in the world, which is why it does not fall under the "biological threat" category.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the CDC noted that schools should have a response plan that the agency said should be communicated to parents. But in the document, there is no "sleepover" or "overnight" at schools that were indicated.
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