If Schools Reopen, Will COVID-19 Follow?

As debate around reopening schools reaches a crescendo, US President Trump has doubled down on his commitment to reopening—even as daily US cases reach new highs, CNN reports.*

After Trump blasted CDC school reopening guidelines as “very tough and expensive,” Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC will revise its guidelines next week. But despite calls from the White House to do so, CDC Director Robert Redfield clarified Thursday that the agency would not revise its guidelines but provide additional reference documents, CNN reports.*

Elsewhere, some 20 countries have already reopened classrooms under a patchwork of restrictions, Science reports. Some countries, including Taiwan and Sweden, never closed schools. Analyses have show some promising patterns: smaller groups, social distancing, and masks seem to help keep the virus at bay.
But as long as schools are open, classroom outbreaks will happen—and important unknowns were ignored by the White House’s National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America's Schools this week, warned Tom Inglesby, director of the Bloomberg School's Center for Health Security.

While there’s consensus that children are among the lowest-risk groups for COVID-19 infection, one key variable is that “We don’t have enough evidence about how frequently children spread COVID-19 to other children.”

*This post has been updated to include the CDC's stance on revising reopening guidelines, which was reported after GHN was prepared.  

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