NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — With many schools across Connecticut now reopening their doors to students and staff, safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a top issue. An infectious disease specialist weighs in on the risk level of sending students and teachers back to class.
Dr. Manisha Juthani, a Yale Medicine Infectious Disease Specialist and Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine said that Connecticut’s rate of infection for COVID-19 is the lowest risk category and well below three percent.
Dr. Juthani said the CDC has laid out guidance for schools to safely reopen. They include examining the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days, the percent positivity of testing over the last 14 days and also five measures of mitigation. They are wearing masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning the school and contact tracing.
“Connecticut is in wonderful shape, we are doing all of the above, and the lowest risk of percent of positivity they are looking at is less than three percent. We’ve been less than one percent for a long time and we’ve gone up to 1.3% but again that’s still below the three percent that is the lowest risk category.”
“For now, schools in Connecticut in general are in the lowest risk category,” she added. “We’re in a different position right now. Now we have the ability to contact trace. We know that our level of virus in the community is much lower than at the height of the pandemic here in Connecticut.”
As for schools seeing students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 she said, “Having cases does not necessarily mean the entire system needs to shut down.”
“We’ve done hard work here in Connecticut over the last several months and our kids, in general, are ready to go back to some sort of in-person schooling.”