Many school districts across the nation will once again open for in-person instruction later this month. But data on how COVID-19 spreads in schools remain inadequate.
At the request of one of my readers, I’ve updated my annotations of state K-12 data reporting, first published on December 6. The annotations are posted on a new resource page, which also includes notes on the four major national sources for COVID-19 school data. I’ll be updating this page every two weeks.
Here’s how the state data stand, as of January 1:
- 34 states and the District of Columbia are reporting COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools, in some form
- 7 states are reporting incomplete data on school outbreaks or cases in school-aged children
- 20 states are separating out school case counts by students and staff
- 5 states are reporting deaths linked to school outbreaks
- 1 state is reporting COVID-19 tests conducted for school students and staff (New York)
- 2 states are reporting in-person enrollment (New York and Texas)
- CDC says 80% of teachers and childcare workers are vaccinated, fails to provide more specificsThis past Tuesday, April 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a press release that I found heartening, yet confusing. “Nearly 80 percent of teachers, school staff, and childcare workers receive at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine,” the release proclaims. These vaccinations include “more than 2 million” people in these professions who received doses through the federal retail pharmacy program and “5-6 million” vaccinated through state programs, all of whom received shots before the end of March.
- K-12 school updates, March 21K-12 school data updates for the week of March 21 include new funding for testing, a new database on school closures, new CDC guidance, and controversy.
- Teachers can get vaccinated in every state, but we don’t know how many areAs of this past Monday, K-12 teachers in every state are now eligible for vaccination. Teachers were already prioritized in most of the country, but Biden directed the remaining states to adjust their priority lists last week. The federal government also pulled teachers into the federal pharmacy program, previously used for long-term care facilities. But there’s one big problem: we have no idea how many teachers have actually been inoculated.
- New schools guidance fails to call for data reportingUnder Biden, national public health leadership could require that all public schools report their case counts, testing numbers, and enrollment numbers to the federal government—and publish these figures in a systematic way. But the new CDC guidance largely retains the status quo for school COVID-19 data.