According to new research by The New York Times, only 1 out of 6 counties in the U.S. have tamped down on the spread of COVID-19 enough to justify full-in person education. These counties tend to be sparsely populated in the Plains, West, and MidWest regions.
This is concerning as President Biden and state governors have pushed for children to return to school within the next four months or so.
The NYT has produced a new national map that shows, county-by-county, where cases of COVID-19 are low enough for elementary schools to fully open.
Full in-person education is recommended in areas where the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 people in a week and a seven-day positivity rate of less than 8 percent.
In Massachusetts, only Franklin County has met the threshold to return elementary school students to full in-person education, according to the NYT.
Separate estimates are made for when middle and high school students can return to full in-class education as the disease spreads more rapidly the older people get.
Again, in Massachusetts, Franklin County is the only county where full in-person education is recommended for middle and high school students. Hybrid learning - where some students are educated in class and others remotely - is recommended for the Berkshires. As for the rest of Massachusetts, going by the CDC guidelines, they should all be providing full remote education.
The CDC noted that county-level data is important, but individual schools need to look at their own situations to decide what type of education to provide.
Massachusetts isn’t following the CDC’s guidelines by the letter. Massachusetts has opted to keep students three feet apart, instead of the CDC recommended 6 feet of social distancing.
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