Is Your Child’s School Ready to Reopen?

By Yaryna Serkez and Stuart A. Thompson for The New York Times

Many parents have one question on their minds right now: Can my child’s school open safely amid the pandemic? Times Opinion looked at which counties might be able to open schools by examining where the rate of new coronavirus cases may be low enough, and testing rates high enough, to allow it.

The analysis found that most schools across the country should remain partially or fully closed, including in almost the entire South, where cases are still surging and testing is insufficient. But in other states, like those in the coastal Northeast, schools can reopen — with conditions, like avoiding high risk activities, wearing masks and physical distancing.

Our analysis considers two main things: the rate of new infections in a county and the county’s testing capabilities. We used guidelines from the Harvard Global Health Institute, which proposed a variety of ways to open schools as long as the county has fewer than 25 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people. We also used the World Health Organization’s proposal to open only if fewer than 5 percent of all those who are tested for the virus over a two-week period actually have it.

The second part matters because if a higher proportion of people are testing positive, it could mean that not enough tests are being conducted to adequately measure the spread.

Not every county that opens schools would do it the same way. Guidelines proposed by Harvard allow some elementary schools to open first while high schools would remain online. Here are those guidelines applied to our rankings.

Read more here.

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