With the fall semester officially starting this week in some parts of the US, the question of how public schools will reopen for the fall semester, and how much in-person learning to allow, if any, is weighing on the minds of millions of Americans.
And while we await to learn more about New York’s plans for reopening its schools, a team of economists at Goldman Sachs took a close look at the existing data surrounding the virus’s ability to spread in schools, and among younger children, along with the economic costs of keeping schools closed, in an attempt to answer a critical question: How exactly should the US go about reopening its schools?
Looking at the problem from a strictly medical perspective is difficult enough. The research that exists is often contradictory. One large study based on comprehensive contact tracing in South Korea found that children under 10 were roughly half as likely as adults to transmit the virus to others, while children between the ages of 10 and 19 transmitted the virus at similar rates to adults.