Executive Summary: Evidence and Guidance for In-person Schooling during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Across the United States, schools have been safely reopening following closure for the COVID-19 pandemic by adhering to recommended mitigation strategies including mask wearing, social distancing, hygiene and contact tracing.

This executive summary outlines key informational priorities that are more richly discussed in our extended guidance for in-person schooling during the pandemic. We updated our original guidance from August 2020 to reflect the challenges schools are facing following reopening in the fall. We have intentionally moved beyond the absolutism of case incidence and test positivity thresholds that—although were helpful for knowing when/how to start school in late summer—are no longer the most pressing questions for school leaders. 

All decision-makers should be mindful that as long as there are cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the community, there are no strategies that can eliminate transmission risk in schools entirely. The goal is to keep transmission as low as possible so as to safely continue school activities 


Rubin D, Matone M, Marshall D, Gerber J, Coffin S, Fisher B