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Some Thoughts on Schools

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August 10, 2020 9:37 a.m.

We’re in line for a rash of morality tales emerging out of school re-openings around the country. That high school in Georgia that had the viral photo of kids crowded into a hallway between classes has now reported at least 9 new cases – students and teachers – and is at least temporarily moving to remote instruction.

These stories also provide new evidence of how little emerging science is figuring into decisions on the school reopening question. North Paulding High School is moving to remote instruction today and tomorrow during which time the facility will be closed for cleaning and disinfection. The problem is that most of what we’ve learned over the last eight months tells us that this sort of cleaning addresses what is likely only a minor or even trivial source of infection. COVID virus can persist on surfaces for significant periods of time, at least in laboratory settings. But surfaces contaminated hours or days earlier appear to account for very little disease transmission.

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