Following CDC study finding low transmission in schools, officials say decision requires local data

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 9:49 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - New data from the CDC suggests students can safely return to school, but some officials said the decision needs to be made on the local level.

A recent study examined 17 schools in rural Wisconsin where masks were worn and social distancing was enforced. The CDC found transmission of the virus in those schools was low.

Jessica Fletcher, senior communications director for the Kentucky nonprofit Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, said this study alone isn’t enough to make the call to return to in-person learning.

“The CDC report is encouraging, however we really need to look at multiple levels of data to know when would be the best time for kids to go back,” said Fletcher.

It’s been nearly one year since Fayette County Public schools have been meeting in person. The start date for in-person learning has been delayed several times because of the local COVID-19 positivity rate, as well as other factors.

President Biden is pushing for the majority of schools to reopen in his first 100 days. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the data from the CDC study can’t be applied everywhere.

“It’s more of a challenge in public schools where they don’t have that funding from tuition or smaller populations where it’s easier to put in place the actions needed to keep the schools open,” Psaki said.

Fletcher said the Prichard Committee has found in surveys that situations and certain variables are different from classroom to classroom across the state.

“Districts and health departments really need to be working hand in hand to determine if they should be in or not, this is a local decision,” she said.

National public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said he backs the CDC’s study and supports children returning to in-person learning.

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