4 News Now Q&A: What does new research tell us about reopening schools safely?

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Q: What does new research tell us about reopening schools safely? 

A: Finding the safest way to get as many students back to the classroom as possible is a big priority for health experts navigating this pandemic, and has been for months. Now, new guidance from the CDC suggests it is possible for schools to safely reopen and limit spread of COVID-19 in the community.

In one study. CDC researchers looked at schools in Wisconsin that opened last fall for in-person learning. They found COVID-19 transmission was 37 percent lower in school than it was in the surrounding community. Experts say that is because of precautions the school took, like mandating masks and separating children into smaller groups.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert supports this finding. Dr. Anthony Fauci says when you give schools the protection and resources they need to safely reopen, infection transmission in school appears to be less than in the community.

“The science tells us there’s something leaning towards all the things that we need to do,” Dr. Fauci said. “Obviously we want to get the teachers vaccinated. We want to make sure they have the resources to do it correctly. But when you look at the history of how this virus is moving in schools, it seems to be less spreading there than it is in the community.”

RELATED: Washington OSPI, Kaiser Permanente detail plan for vaccinating school staff

Here in Washington, Governor Jay Inslee says we are seeing this successful science play out in our own classrooms all over the state. He says the safety protocols used in these schools are working, and more classrooms can and should reopen safely.

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