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The Medical Case Against Reopening Campuses

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Apropos the two post from yesterday on COVID-19 and education, three Georgetown professors – Shweta Bansal, Colin Carlson and John Kraemer – have a piece in the Washington Post arguing against bringing students back in the fall.

Universities across the country areannouncing their intention to resume in-person classes despite the ongoing threat of a pandemic including some recent high-profile decisions. Colleges are proposing solutions like residential pods in dorms to balance physical distancing with the need for social contact or digital apps that trade-off privacy for contact tracing. These ideas could provide more flexibility in the future.

All three of us are educators who miss being in the classroom with our students, but we are also public health researchers, and these solutions all assume it is possible to reopen safely. So far, the evidence contradicts that. Every way we approach the question of whether universities can resume on-campus classes, basic epidemiology shows there is no way to “safely” reopen by the fall semester. If students are returned to campus for face-to-face instruction, the risk of significant on-campus covid-19 transmission will be unmanageably and unavoidably high.

Read the whole, etc.

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