Report: In-person learning not linked to significant COVID-19 transmission, dependent on community spread

To what extent does in-person schooling contribute to the spread of COVID-19?

As local school districts grapple with this question, a new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Education Data and Research, the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal data in Education Research and the Education Policy Innovation Collaboration is offering some guidance.

The team looked at district and county level data from both Washington and Michigan to study how in-person, hybrid or remote learning in K-12 schools affects the spread of COVID-19 in the wider community.

Researchers found that reopening schools is not linked to COVID-19 transmission when community spread is low, but it is linked when cases are higher. Community COVID-19 rates are strongly positively correlated with in-person and hybrid forms of schooling.

“In Washington, which has significantly lower average case counts than Michigan during our study period, we find evidence that the offer of in-person/hybrid modality is associated with additional community spread when average pre-existing daily case counts are over 5 cases per 100,000, but not at lower levels of pre-existing community spread,” the researchers found.

You can read the full study here.