(CNN) — About 89% of children in the United States live in a county considered a red zone with high levels of covid-19 transmission under the new school opening guidelines shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, on Friday, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
More than 65.3 million children – approximately 89% of the US population under the age of 18 – live in a red or “high transmission” community. The CDC thus defines the counties where there were at least 100 new cases of Covid -19 per 100,000 people or a test positivity rate of at least 10% during the last seven days.
When the CDC guidance was released on Friday, about 99% of children were in red zones, according to CNN’s analysis.
The CDC guidelines emphasize five key mitigation strategies. These are: requiring masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands, keeping facilities clean, and tracing contacts. They also recommend different strategies based on how much transmission exists in the community surrounding the center. It also has a color-coded guide with red high transmission areas, orange substantial transmission areas, yellow-coded moderate transmission areas, and blue low transmission areas.
The CDC says school districts should reassess the situation on a weekly basis. In this sense, they point out that transmission levels will change over time.
What should each school do according to CDC guidelines?
If schools in “high transmission” communities cannot “strictly implement all mitigation strategies,” the CDC says all extracurricular activities should be virtual. Additionally, middle and high schools should continue virtual learning in these red zones. Elementary schools, for their part, must maximize social distancing through hybrid learning or reduced attendance.
Approximately 115,000 children in the United States live in a county considered to have “low” or “moderate” transmission. In these cases, the CDC recommends that elementary and middle schools (K-12) be open for fully classroom instruction.
CNN’s analysis used the most recent federal data on new case rates and test positivity rates. The goal was to determine the risk threshold for each county in accordance with CDC guidelines. These data were released Sunday by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The population data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 Five-Year American Community Survey estimates.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism