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Good News on Coronavirus in Schools?


By Dan Hounsell Emergency Preparedness
teacher and student wearing mask

Are the nation’s K-12 schools actually doing it?

Amid widespread concerns over ventilation problems and water system issues, are schools somehow managing to bring in large numbers of students and faculty while confounding predictions of widespread coronavirus infection?

The early indication is that they are.

So far, public health experts have found little evidence that the disease is spreading inside buildings, and the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities, reports the Anchorage Daily News. This early evidence, experts say, suggests that opening school might not be as risky as many have feared and could guide administrators as they charter the rest of what is already an unprecedented school year.

“Everyone had a fear there would be explosive outbreaks of transmission in the schools. In colleges, there have been,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “We have to say that to date, we have not seen those in the younger kids and that is a really important observation.” 

The fact that large swaths of the country opened for in-person school while others did not offers the more cautious districts a chance to observe the way things have gone elsewhere in charting their next steps.

Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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