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When can we realistically expect schools to reopen?

COVID-19 won’t go away because it’s a new year

DETROIT – There could be some good news on the horizon in terms of reopening schools and getting back to normal.

During a Harvard webinar, Dr. Anthony Fauci told a group that transmission in schools is lower than originally thought. Does that mean schools can open back up?

Short answer, no. While infectious disease experts and school superintendents agree the numbers are lower than anticipated, it’s not enough to speed up a timeline.

Read: Michigan high schools allowed to reopen today as part of revised COVID order

“When you look at it, the number of children getting it is less than you would have expected, which is good news for keeping the children in school,” Fauci said. “It does not appear that the risk to the teachers is any greater than the risk they would face by being in the community in general.”

Dr. Matthew Sims is the director of infectious disease research at Beaumont Royal Oak. He agrees with Fauci that the transmission rate is lower than expected, but he isn’t sure that data tells the entire store.

“If it spreads in the school, the kids brings it home, parent brings it to work and spreads it there,” Sims said. “It’s never traced back to the school at that point.”

Superintendents also agree that the apparent risk to students is low, but Chippewa Valley Schools superintendent Ron Roberts said the logistics of everything else is the problem.

“We have teachers who are ill, teachers quarantined from home and there’s a substitute shortage,” Roberts said.

READ: Tracking coronavirus cases, outbreaks in Michigan schools

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