CDC researchers make case for students to return to in-person learning, with precautions in place

Education

(WRIC) — Schools operating in person during the pandemic have seen little evidence of transmission when safety measures are taken, according to a group of researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC team reviewed data from K-12 schools that re-opened for in-person classes in the fall. It found the type of rapid spread witnessed in congregate settings and long-term care facilities has not been reported in schools.

The group also found that there is little evidence that schools contribute meaningfully to increased community transmission.

While researchers call this data “reassuring,” they emphasize the importance of schools taking proper safety precautions.

“All recommended mitigation measures in schools must continue: requiring universal face mask use, increasing physical distance … increasing room air ventilation, and expanding screening testing to rapidly identify and isolate asymptomatic infected individuals,” the report states.

Specifically, the CDC recommends schools require masks, six-foot distance, student cohorts, and screening testing.

This review comes as school systems across the country and in Central Virginia work to strike the right balance between getting students in the classroom and mitigating the spread of the virus.

This month, the Virginia Education Association called for all in-person learning to be suspended until all teachers get vaccinated.

With vaccine rollout going slower than expected, though, it’s unclear when that could be.

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