CDC says 80% of teachers and childcare workers are vaccinated, fails to provide more specifics

This 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.

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Teachers can get vaccinated in every state, but we don’t know how many are

As 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.

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Experts say schools could reopen, but data are still scarce

The medical journal JAMA released an article written by three CDC officials about opening schools. The conclusion was that it appears that reopening schools safely is possible—but before we turn everyone loose, there are a lot of caveats. And critically, protective measures that need to be taken are not limited to the schools themselves.

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School data update, Jan. 3

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.

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How are states reporting COVID-19 in schools?

In total, 35 states report case counts in all public K-12 schools. 6 states report in an incomplete form, either not including all schools or not including specific case counts. 9 states do not report school COVID-19 data at all. These states are: Alaska, California, Georgia, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

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COVID-19 school data remain sporadic

On November 18, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city’s schools would close until further notice. The NYC schools discrepancy is indicative of an American education system that is still not collecting adequate data on how COVID-19 is impacting classrooms—much less using these data in a consistent manner.

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