(From The 74 Million) As coronavirus cases surge across the country, a new study shows young children may be less likely to spread the virus. The paper examined 47 youth and 32 adults who had been infected with the virus, finding a reduced antibody response among children. This result is good news for kids, as it indicates that COVID often did not take hold as strongly within children’s systems, a concept described by experts as a “gradient in infectiousness.” And while that risk of spreading COVID-19 among children remains, the findings of the Nature Immunology study indicate that asymptomatic carriers may be less likely to spread the virus than those who experience symptoms. Though the study may be sepll good news for in-person elementary and middle school learning, it comes just as surging coronavirus cases nationwide are prompting multiple districts to delay reopening.
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(From The Washington Post) A new study by Brown University, examining some 10,000 school districts across the country, has found essentially no connection between covid-19 case rates and decisions regarding schools. Rather, politics is shaping the decisions: The two main factors that determined whether a school district opened in-person were the level of support in the district for Donald Trump in 2016 and the strength of teachers’ unions. A third factor, with a much smaller impact, was the amount of competition a school district faces from private schools, in particular Catholic schools. Districts located in counties with a larger number of Catholic schools were less likely to shut down and more likely to return to in-person learning. That’s because private schools have tended to open at a higher rate than public schools, and their presence did affect public-school decisions. “It may be that where the private sector threatens the public system’s market share, districts find that they have to compromise the partisan preferences of the community to keep their wealthier families invested in the public system,” wrote the study’s authors.
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(From Texas Monthly) At a time when schools around the country have struggled to enforce on-campus restrictions, one university decided its best bet for remaining open during the pandemic was to rely on those with the most to lose: the students. The student-run COVID Community Court (CCC) at Rice University has overseen dozens of cases in recent months, the vast majority set in motion by fellow classmates who have been encouraged by the university to report coronavirus-related misconduct that makes them feel unsafe. The university’s administration and many in the student body support the court’s work, believing it has helped to ensure that Rice, with about 7,500 students, has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates among colleges in the state. But some students say the feeling of being watched has become another cost of the pandemic. “The cost is reduced trust in the student body and turning students against each other,” observed one student.
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