Campus Diagnostics Group White Paper: Reopening Schools in the COVID-19 Era

The education systems in the U.S. have a uniquely high number of obstacles to consider before re-opening. More than 77 million students are enrolled in US schools, amounting to almost 25% of the population, and it is a necessity that they return to classes in the Fall. To accomplish this, school systems will require carefully planned operational precautions, budgetary considerations, and a huge effort by administrators and teachers to adjust their teaching methods.

The Resumption of School Activities in the Time of COVID-19

The emergence of the COVID-19 has altered nearly every aspect of society as we work to contain the spread. In most parts of the country restaurants have been shuttered, events cancelled, and face masks became a part of daily wardrobes.Yet despite collective efforts, confirmed cases of the virus have continued to grow with more than 10.2mm global infections and 2.6mm, or almost 26%, of the infections occurring in the United States (the actual number is likely much higher with many countries suspected of either accidentally or purposefully underreporting case numbers). It’s certain that the coronavirus will continue affecting our communities until we develop a vaccine, which is expected no sooner than early 2021 according to experts in the community. 

In the meantime, businesses and organizations need to continue adjusting behavior and environments to combat the virus while maintaining essential activities. To accomplish this, testing is widely recognized as a necessity, and the country has made significant progress in our nationwide testing capabilities. In June the U.S. as a whole is finally consistently testing 500,000 people per day, the lowest acceptable capacity for containment according to public health experts, compared to average testing of 200,000 per day in April. However, individual states have not all adequately increased their testing as they continue to combat supply shortages, lab capacity constraints, and unexpected surges in new cases (Arizona having the largest statewide testing shortages). Testing is essential for getting control of the pandemic as it allows monitoring of outbreaks, contact-tracing, isolation of the sick and quarantining of the exposed. As various parts of our communities look to reopen, we need clear and comprehensive guidelines and improved implementation on a range of activities including social interactions, protective wear, and testing to ensure a minimum level of safety in our environments.

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