The delta variant in schools: What to know (subscription)

Classrooms are opening their doors to a different pandemic. Here is how to think about risk.
By: | August 5, 2021

Last week, in what was intended to be an internal document, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a stark admission: The highly contagious delta variant had redrawn the battle lines of the coronavirus pandemic, necessitating new public health measures like universal mask mandates. Or, as the agency put it in the document, which was obtained by The New York Times, “the war has changed.”

The news came just as the first school districts were preparing to reopen; children in Atlanta and some of its suburbs head back to the classroom this week.

Over the past year, there has been contentious debate over how much schools contribute to the spread of the virus and whether, and when, they should close. For some parents, teachers and officials, keeping schools open when a new, poorly understood virus was circulating seemed like an unacceptable risk. For others, however, it was school closures that posed the bigger danger — of learning loss, widening educational disparities and worsening mental health, not to mention the hardships for parents.

As the new school year begins, however, the C.D.C., the American Academy of Pediatrics and many other experts agree that reopening schools should be a priority.

Read more from the New York Times.

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