Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, November 29, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine

CommonWealth Magazine
In-person learning now considered ‘high risk’ by CDC
Change in guideline quietly made on agency website 

THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL and Prevention quietly removed controversial guidelines from its website promoting in-person learning in schools, and instead is now listing it as “high risk.

The disputed guidance was composed of documents written by political appointees outside of the agency. One of the documents stated that children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults and that children are unlikely to be major spreaders of the virus, according to The Hill. The CDC removed the guidance from its website without public announcement some time in late October.

“Some of the prior content was outdated and as new scientific information has emerged the site has been updated to reflect current knowledge about COVID-19 and schools,” a spokesperson told the news outlet.

Now the website says “the body of evidence is growing that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and contrary to early reports might play a role in transmission,” and lists in-person learning as high risk.

The news comes just as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association released a report this week that found that the coronavirus is infecting children now more than ever. As of November 12, over 1 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Over the two-weeks period between October 29 and November 12 there was a 22 percent increase in child COVID-19 cases, or 185,829 new cases, nationwide. In Massachusetts, the total is 15,562 cases among children as of November 12, or 9.4 percent of total cases.

State leaders, who have been pushing for a return to in-person learning, are maintaining their position. At a Wednesday press conference, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said the state is relying on medical expertise in encouraging school reopenings, but acknowledged the shifts in CDC guidance. “There’s been some back and forth on what they put out,” he said.

Gov. Charlie Baker in early November released new metrics that downgraded the risk of COVID-19 in most communities and issued new guidance suggesting in-person instruction is safe even in hot-spot areas. At the time, CONTINUE READING: