Schools may open no matter how much virus is spreading in a community, if they take the right precautions, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday.
As of Tuesday, CNN analysis indicated about 90% of children live in so-called red zones under the CDC’s guidance – meaning there is a high level of community spread of virus. But even in those conditions, schools can safely reopen if they take precautions, Walensky told a White House briefing.
“The first thing I just want to convey is there are opportunities for in-person learning at all stages of – all states of community spread,” Walensky told the briefing.
“As we've seen community spread coming down, and as we've seen our numbers improving right now, what I would invite the schools to do – we have actually seen many more communities leave the red zone and move into the orange zone, which actually has more opportunities for in-school opening, and for in-person learning,” she added.
“So our numbers are coming down. I would actually invite schools to lean in and to look at what is needed so that in the roadmap to try and get more and more children back to school.”
The CDC has said schools can reopen if they make sure they are mitigating the risk of spread with universal mask use, measures to keep children and staff six feet apart, frequent cleaning and disinfection and testing and contact tracing.
“So in, in the areas that remain red – and there are about two-thirds of districts now, although the numbers continue to decline – in the numbers that remain red, we say with universal masking and physical distancing and densification of classrooms, there are opportunities for in-person learning, as well as for middle and high school learning, and assuming you're able to do the densification that we suggest,” Walensky said.