Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, believes that schools can safely reopen in the fall during the COVID-19 pandemic if they follow a number of risk-reduction measures. He discussed school openings in a June 24, 2020 op-ed in the Washington Post and a June 25, 2020 interview in the Harvard Gazette, as well as in a recently released report produced with colleagues from the School’s Healthy Buildings program, of which he is director.
Allen said that since children are at lower risk from complications of COVID-19; basic societal risk-reduction measures are having an effect; and widespread school closures come with devastating costs to children’s education, health, and safety, schools should reopen in the fall. He noted that although there will still be some risk, it can be kept relatively low if schools follow a host of recommendations, including creating a culture of health, safety, and shared responsibility; ensuring that students and staff stay at home when sick; and following mask-wearing and social-distancing measures.
Both Accomack and Northampton Schools are planning to reopen in September. Both will have hybrid plans to incorporate in school learning with online classes. Both systems will employ social distancing and CDC recommended cleaning procedures on both busses and in the school facilities. Students will be required to wear masks.