As the re-opening of schools remains a top pandemic-priority for President Biden, experts believe that communities should work at reducing the overall transmission to prevent the spread in schools. That meant policies to restrict indoor dining at restaurants, and more.

David Wessel

David Wessel, a journalist and director of the Hutchins Centre on Fiscal & Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, re-tweeted an article on how an exhaustive study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that US schools operating in person have seen limited transmission of the coronavirus. The researchers also added that the real threat is indoor athletics, which have led to infections and need to be curtailed if schools wanted to operate safely.

The CDC was able to concur from studies in the US and abroad, schools differed in terms of spread of infections from that of high-density work sites such as nursing homes known to spread the disease rapidly. Schools, as result, have contributed less to the increased community transmission, the researchers concluded.

The study which looked at 17 rural K-12 schools in Wisconsin found that just seven out of the 191 coronavirus cases resulted from in school transmission. Researchers also noted that both students and staff wore masks at all times in these schools.

Brian Riedl

Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, re-tweeted on Fairfax county teachers and administrators not willing to go back to work even after having been vaccinated. According to Scott Brabrand, the Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent, approximately 5,000 teachers have been administered with the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and an additional 22,000 teachers registered to get their first dose soon.

Despite having jumped to the front of the vaccine line, teachers are refusing to return to full-time in-person learning. Experts therefore believe that vaccinations to teachers should be immediately stopped, so that high-risk individuals and public servants who have been working out of their homes throughout the year can be prioritised for vaccinations. They also believe that schools should re-open full time along with new administrators.

Fairfax teachers have been vaccinated with their first dose as early as 14 January 2021, but state that teachers unions are not supporting a return to full-time education even in the fall, which is September 2021.

Christian Odendahl

Christian Odendahl, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, shared an article on vaccines being oversold as part of the pandemic exit strategy. However, the article highlighted the urgent need for vaccination to continue alongside virus suppression efforts as regions with raging transmission served as a breeding ground for other resistant variants.

Leading science commentators such as Anjana Ahuja, writes that if logistics permitted, approximately 15 million people in the UK would receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by February. In addition, provided the second dose is administered in time, the vulnerable sections of the population would not require intensive care hospitalisations.

A model from the University of East Anglia suggests normalcy is far from achieved, even with the rollout of vaccines. It is being suggested that imperfect vaccine efficacy, poor uptake of vaccines, and the birth of infectious variants could hinder attempts to achieve herd immunity.