Newsy Investigates: When COVID-19 Infects A Reopened School

Newsy finds inconsistent response plans for when a student or teacher tests positive for the coronavirus in a reopened school.
Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 30, 2020

It’s a nightmare scenario for parents agonizing over whether to send their kids back to school: A teacher or student getting sick with the coronavirus.

“How are we going to handle it if a student gets it?” said Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union in South Florida. “And how do we take care of the employees with the same situation? We still need those questions answered.”

Newsy’s investigative team looked at K-12 school reopening plans across the country and found big differences in how districts would respond to a diagnosis of COVID-19 whenever in-person classes resume.

Some plans call for closing entire schools for weeks, other school systems would shutter classrooms long enough for sanitizing, and many districts say they would ask local health departments for instructions case by case.

Many of the biggest school systems beginning the year with virtual learning are still deciding how to handle cases of the virus when teachers and students go back to the classroom.

New CDC guidance calls for quarantining small groups of students and teachers who interact with someone known to test positive for the disease.

“People want concrete decisions to guide the reopening of schools, and right now a lot is just very ambiguous,” said Dr. Annette Anderson, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. “We just don’t know right now what the fall is going to look like even six weeks out.”

For more of our findings, click the play button on the video above to watch our full story.