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The CDC pointed to two new studies from California and Illinois as evidence that school districts can employ a "test-to-stay" policy to keep kids safely with in-person learning, even if they've come into contact with someone infected with COVID.
“These studies demonstrate that test-to-stay works to keep unvaccinated children in school safely,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters Friday, the Washington Post reported.
The policy is “a promising and now proven practice," Walensky added.
Up to now, students usually are sent home to quarantine if they've come into close contact with an infected person, to make sure they don't infect others.
In Lake County, 90 schools implemented test-to-stay during this fall. Only about 1.5% of kids exposed to COVID who remained in class spread coronavirus to another student, or only 16 out of 1,035, according to the Dec. 17 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
One in five Los Angeles County schools also adopted test-to-stay this fall. Average student daily case rates declined in all county school districts, but were even lower than average in test-to-stay districts, the CDC report found.
Students wore masks in both studies, Walensky noted, and were monitored for symptoms.
“The test-to-stay programs are really good at balancing the costs and benefits,” Zoe McLaren, a health policy expert at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, told the New York Times.
“What the test-to-stay program does is help us keep COVID cases down, while also trying to make sure we keep kids in school as much as possible, which I think is really important," McLaren added.
SOURCES: Washington Post, New York Times, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Dec. 17, 2021
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