The nation’s educators are living through extraordinary challenges. Recommendations to get students back for in-person learning are necessary, for the good of students, and reasonable, because safety can be achieved.
Schools should use metrics of community spread as general points of information, not on-off switches for closure and opening, and should focus their own attention on developing ways to measure any in-school transmission and the quality of their infection control regime, in relation to the elements of infection control laid out below. For in-school transmission, the goal should be zero or near zero transmission.
These recommendations increase the workload on schools, however, by introducing the need for robust infection control programs, and short and long-term investment in our public education system’s infrastructure and workforce. Our nation's educators deserve full support from state and federal governments and the general public as they undertake the heroic labor of holistically transforming their practices to meet this urgent need.
The report, “Schools and the Path to Zero: Strategies for Pandemic Resilience in the Face of High Community Spread” follows previous guidance on building pandemic resilient schools by the same group, published in July.