School officials and health experts spent months and countless hours ahead of the beginning of the school year developing plans to bring students back into the classroom safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But about three months into the academic year, many schools halted in-person instruction or changed or completely scrapped original reopening plans.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed guidelines released by state governors and health and education departments, as well as news articles, to create a list of restrictions, re-closures, and safety recommendations for schools in every state.
Daily temperature checks at the door, mask wearing, and staying socially distant were already the new normal. Sudden closures after students or staff tested positive for COVID-19 have become part of the routine, too. Sometimes, these closures last a day, other times two weeks. As the U.S. reaches new, disturbing COVID-19 records almost every day, including daily new cases and hospitalizations, switching to remote learning until further notice is not uncommon.
The parameters for shutting down schools for in-person instruction are not uniform and are up to each school. Some have decided to go fully remote only after one confirmed case. Others have waited until dozens of COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the school before shutting in-person instruction. New York City Schools, the country’s largest school district, is getting ready to move classes fully remote as the city’s positivity rate closes in on 3%, making a complete shutdown almost inevitable.
On Nov. 13, the U.S. reported more than 166,000 new coronavirus cases a day, a record high for a third day in a row. The pandemic continues to worsen across the country but new coronavirus cases and positivity rates vary from district to district — these are the states where the virus is spreading the fastest.