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How much will it cost to reopen schools safely?

August 8th, 2020, 3:56pm by Sam Wang


I’m thinking quantitatively about the risk to kids and grown-ups as schools reopen. Based on some envelope calculations, it seems to me that the only place this can happen safely is the Northeast. Also, wherever we attempt re-opening, nasal-swab testing will reduce the risk by a factor of ~4. And with pooled testing, it could cost as little as $1000 per week per school.

Full thoughts are here.

Tags: Health

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Joe

    This is very hopeful for someone next door in Hunterdon County. I wonder how districts will get the public health support to implement your scheme. I repaired there would be rolling screening. With free-ranging HS and older middle school children possibly being greater vectors, should frequent y of testing older vs younger be modeled. I also am hoping availability of LAMP tests may improve screening.

  • Amitabh Lath

    I tried to get some idea of the p-value of getting infected and came up with 1e-6 to 1e-8 per day. Of course it depends on the density of asymptomatic spreaders in the population. Hard to estimate.

    We are keeping the kids home. It’s tough, as the younger one goes to a special needs school and remote learning is basically useless. Our rationale is that the fewer kids go the easier it is to socially distance, so if you are not working shifts and can afford to keep kids home, then do so.

    Also, even if your kid does not get infected the moment anyone is, the school shuts down. For special needs kids it’s worse for them to start going to school and then get that yanked away again.

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