As More Students Head Back, Here’s What We Now Know (And Still Don’t) about Schools and COVID Spread (Matt Barnum)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

This article appeared in Chalkbeat, October 22, 2020. Matt Barnum is an education journalist.

Two months ago, Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, was something of a school reopening skeptic. In places with relatively high COVID rates, like Florida and Texas, K-12 school buildings should stay shuttered to protect the health of teachers, students, and their communities, he argued.

Now, his view is changing.

“The evidence so far suggests that we can likely open schools — especially K-5 — pretty safely in most parts of the country,” he said, as long as those schools take precautions like requiring masks. “I’m getting slowly but surely persuaded that I may have been too cautious.”

That’s because where schools have reopened, things have gone relatively well, as least as far as scientists and public health officials can tell right now. Many European countries have reopened schools…

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