In the COVID-19 Data Dispatch’s “Opening” series, we profiled five school communities that successfully reopened during the 2020-2021 school year. Through exploring these success stories, we found that the schools used many similar strategies to build trust with their communities and keep COVID-19 case numbers down.
Last week, national case numbers appeared to be in a decline, with a 13% decrease from the prior week. This week, cases bumped back up slightly—most likely due to delayed reporting driven by the Labor Day weekend, as I predicted in last week’s issue. Still, this week’s daily new case average is lower than it was a couple of weeks ago. And the number of COVID-19 patients newly admitted to hospitals, a crucial metric that’s less susceptible to holiday reporting interruptions, has continued to drop.
The COVID-19 Data Dispatch has, clearly, been pretty focused on school reopening in recent weeks. But our “Opening” project is primarily retrospective, looking back at schools that were successful last school year. This fall, the Delta variant and additional political pressures have made reopening success even harder to achieve.
P.S. 705 went above and beyond New York City school reopening guidance, with a particular reliance on the city’s surveillance testing program. This elementary school had a 55% enrollment by the end of the 2020-2021 school year, above the city’s average of about 40%, and made it through the year with just 11 total cases — and zero closures.
Last week, I wrote that national U.S. COVID-19 cases were in a plateau. The pattern has continued this week: cases are down 13% from last week, new hospitalized patients are down 4%, and deaths are down 11%.
In April 2020, FERN reporter Leah Douglas started tracking COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants, food processing facilities, and farms. On September 2, Douglas announced that the project is shutting down.