K-12 Schools That Reopened Have Avoided COVID-19 Surges So Far

In communities where young kids returned to classes, it's mostly good news.


While most large school districts throughout the U.S. are continuing with distance learning, the smaller number of schools that have reopened are reporting good news: So far, K-12 school buildings have not played host to sizable COVID-19 outbreaks.

"Everyone had a fear there would be explosive outbreaks of transmission in the schools," Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told The Washington Post. "In colleges, there have been. We have to say that, to date, we have not seen those in the younger kids, and that is a really important observation."

Researchers at Brown University found extremely low levels of virus transmission over a two-week period in schools that reopened. In many places, the rate of infection in schools was lower than in the rest of the community.

These results came as something of a surprise to some teachers union leaders, according to the Post. "I am not seeing at this particular point the rate I had expected," said Zeph Capo, president of the Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers.

Keep in mind that teachers unions have fought tooth and nail to keep schools closed. Last week, New York City's union successfully pressured Mayor Bill de Blasio to delay reopening schools yet again, even though NYC is one of the areas of the country best equipped, at this point, to manage the pandemic. In Washington, D.C., the teachers union is skeptical about reopening in November.

It's still very early, of course, and opening schools could eventually correlate with significant virus spread. But right now, the idea that it's impossible to reopen schools safely until some undetermined, far off point in the future—perhaps when a vaccine is available—is not holding up.

College campuses, on the other hand, have seen some fairly significant outbreaks. This makes sense: College students live and socialize with each other to a greater degree than young kids do, and many administrators were either naive or indifferent to the fact that compliance with extreme social distancing demands were bound to be ignored.

But even at the college level, not everything is bleak. Some universities have found a workable solution: testing, testing, testing. The University of Illinois, for instance, is testing its entire undergraduate population twice a week; that's 10,000 tests every day. Developing the capacity to pull this off isn't easy, but it appears to work very well when implemented. University health officials can quickly identify asymptomatic cases and quarantine the sick.

Contrary to what the most ardent supporters of endless lockdowns believe, it is possible to safely reopen schools without making students miserable or placing teachers in danger. It just takes planning, hard work, and testing, testing, testing.

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  1. Yes, but you wouldn’t believe it with the way the media is treating things. There will be COVID outbreaks, and you will hear about every single one that happens. This is what happened with that Georgia summer camp- one camp had an outbreak, out of thousands of summer camps- and all of a sudden they need to be shut down.

    My kids have been in after-school care through the end of summer and the last month of school- because the governor wouldn’t let the schools open. My kids literally walk across the school playground to the mobile classrooms at the back of the property. They then open up the chromebooks I had to buy them, and Zoom call into a meeting with their teacher who is in the classroom 150 feet away. I pay an extra $400/mo per kid for this privilege.

    1. WaPo published a story yesterday about the virus mutating and “potentially evolving.” I don’t see how this story ends.

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  2. “K-12 Schools That Reopened Have Avoided COVID-19 Surges So Far”

    That’s good news, I suppose.

    But as a Koch / Reason libertarian I care more about opening the borders than opening the schools.


  3. We’re pandemic-homeschooling and our public school district just announced a staggered re-opening beginning mid-October, mainly because elementary enrollment is down 10%. My kids could go back in November, but I don’t trust that they (the unions, mostly) won’t shut things down again. Moreover, my kids are already a quarter of the way through this year’s math curriculum (the same one used by the schools), so I don’t see any educational benefit of going back now.

  4. Didn’t we already know that from schools around the world that were open in the spring?

  5. As surely as the sun rises in the east – – – – – – – –

  6. These results came as something of a surprise to some teachers union leaders…

    They’re not usually wrong about things.

  7. Breaking: Activists just found out the officers in the Breonna Taylor case aren’t being charged.

    1. And two officers shot during the protests.

  8. Everyone who paid even a little attention to the studies about this knew that small children rarely got it and when they did, rarely passed it because they didn’t carry much of the virus (being you know, small children with little bodies)

    1. I was going to write this.

      We’ve essentially known this for a few months and have studies from Europe saying it

      Paediatricians across North America have said so much and even said NO MASKS.

      It infuriates me what we’re doing to kids.

      Every single adult who pulled this shit is an anti-science asshole.

  9. For all the fear mongering that Trump would be a dictator, it turns out that it is your state government and school boards that are the worst. Democrats being the worst of the lot of course.

    You know what to do – vote them out next chance you get and save your state and town from democrats.

    1. Voting those bad people out means voting in other bad people. Don’t see how that helps.

      1. Well, I guess we’re hosed then.
        Might as well start sea steading.

  10. It’s like we knew what would happen (or not happen) by looking at everywhere else in the world.

  11. So far, K-12 school buildings have not played host to sizable COVID-19 outbreaks.

    How do they know?

    If kids are mostly asymptomatic, how do they know millions of kids don’t have the coronavirus right now? Have they tested all these kids that don’t seem to have the coronavirus to prove that they don’t have the coronavirus? If they start testing in response to some kid coming down with the coronavirus, how do they know that these “new cases” didn’t exist all along? This is very basic science – you’re not going to find something unless you look for it, and when you find something once you start looking for it, it’s no evidence that it wasn’t there all along.

    I know my niece went to the school nurse complaining of not feeling well and was instantly expelled from school for 2 weeks or until she came back with a negative coronavirus test. The problem is, since she didn’t have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, the pediatrician refused to do a coronavirus test on her. Who the hell are they testing then? How many “asymptomatic” people are there out there? And how many of these “asymptomatic” people are just people who got the coronavirus but it didn’t make them sick because the coronavirus is not in fact the second coming of the Black Plague like the hysterics want you to believe?

    1. The case of your niece sounds like it could easily happen at my kids’ school. With all the social distancing and constant wearing of masks how is it possible for kids to spread anything?

      It does feel like the schools, whether open or closed, are treating this like the plague.

      I think the schools are intentionally keeping the kids from critical thinking. Maybe teachers don’t like kids to think, but just want kids to follow orders.

      1. I think they lack critical thinking themselves and are just following orders as well as projecting their fears onto kids.

      2. The children are being introduced to the Nanny State, perfectly safe – not free.

  12. Governor Gavin Newsome just signed an executive order banning sales of new gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035.

    And of course he’ll be shocked — shocked, I tell you — when the mass migration out of the state accelerates.

    1. /face palm.

      This guy is horribly retarded.

    2. Nah, people will just buy their cars right on the border. In 2040 most people won’t even remember why they have to drive so far to purchase a good car.

  13. Being forced to return to the gulag is never good news.

  14. Belgium announced their charade is over.

    No masks.

    Hospitalizations and not cases the new metric.

    Welcome back to sanity.

    Canada and USA still stuck in retard mode.

    1. Here in California hospitals are letting doctors go. That’s how full the hospitals are, anti-full. We’ve told everyone to stay home even when they’re sick, so hospitals are way below capacity. It’s the heart attacks and strokes that are spiking because people were told not to go in to see their doctors.

  15. It certainly seems, but is never publicly considered that it is primarily transmitted socially. Just being in the same room isn’t nearly as dangerous as the commie pricks want us to believe. If you get it at the grocery store, you were probably putting your tongue in the mouth of a stranger, not walking the wrong way.

  16. Just because we haven’t had a spike yet does not mean we won’t have one if we reopen your local school. If your local school reopens we will all die! Think of the children! Do what you’re told! Ignore the data! Worship your governor!

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  18. Ten times as many children die from the annual flu than have died from the China virus.

    Sweden, where businesses weren’t shut down and schools have been open since May, has reported less than one death daily from the virus in the past two weeks, and has a far lower rate of new cases than the US.

  19. Or just close the public schools permanently. And provide the tax credit to those of us that are forced to subsidize the educational industrial complex.

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  21. The government has spent months trying to instill this fear of public gathering, regardless of context. For months. They’ll show us scary images of someone without a mask sneezing and releasing those droplets like poisonous cloud. In reality, unless you’re in an airplane, subways (oops NY) or somewhere cramped and small, you won’t run into those situations. Most people will turn away or cover their mouth right before they sneeze. If you have a coughing fit, you probably won’t go outside.

    Any sort of outdoor events or venue where someone has reasonable control over the environment should have been reopened a month ago, if not earlier. Churches, schools, and nail salons were logical choices since it’s possible to space people out in a highly sanitized environment. Unregulated political rallies with thousands of people are out, despite objections from the party of science.

    Disneyland is a bit iffy, but it’s worth a shot right now at half capacity.

    There was no reason for a lot of these states to micromanage lockdown on their economy for THIS long. These libs played out their “if only to save one life” fantasies (which they usually reserve for gun control discourse) to the max.

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  25. With kids, more important is death totals. With kids it is vitrually zero. This has been known for a LONG time. why anyone is surprised by this is well beyond me.

    College – Still a very small

    This is really very, very simple – we know who the vulnerable people are. Protect them and send every body else back out.

  26. Standardized testing is racist Robby

  27. Not all of them. I’ve heard a student wrote scholarship essay and get COVID. This is a terrible situation.

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