CDC says negative effect of distance learning out weighs Covid-19 transmission risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said the adverse effects on children conducting virtual learning outstrip the threat of transmitting the virus during in-school learning, but the agency is not demanding that schools reopen.

“Schools can be reopened safely prior to all teachers being vaccinated,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

“There is more spread that is happening in the community when schools are not open than when schools are open,” the CDC Director told reporters, adding that if schools are closed there are lots of other risks such as lack of education, food insecurity and milestones being missed.

The CDC issued new school reopening guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, reassuring schools that they are not demanding they reopen but are instead providing roadmaps on how to do so safely.

“I understand that this may be one of the hardest decisions you’ve had to make since the pandemic began,” Walensky said Friday, outlining how to get kids back into classrooms nationwide. “I want to ensure you that our operational strategy is science-based.”

The Department of Education has partnered with the CDC to release the first of several expected handbooks on how schools should implement mitigation strategies to help safely reopen in-person teaching — including guidance on masks, cleanliness, ventilation, social distancing, weekly testing and the potential for pod-based learning when possible.

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