Reopening Kansas schools this fall is a gamble. The COVID-19 new infections rate and death rate are still rising at this writing. Will returning to school-site learning be safe? Will it increase the spread of COVID-19?
The only thing we know for certain is that school is scheduled to begin across Kansas within the coming month. Answers are not coming from national, state or local education leaders. None of these entities, alone or in concert, has the power or ability to bring school safety and learning to our children until there is an effective, widely-distributed vaccine. Thus, returning to full-time, on-site schooling is “rolling the dice.”
A recent review by science writer Laurie Garrett found that school risk reflects the larger coronavirus prevalence in a community. Therefore, Kansas counties with fewer than 10 recorded cases of COVID-19 automatically have a better chance for a safe school reopening than schools in urban and suburban counties with more than 1,000 confirmed cases.