(Center of the American Experiment) – The coronavirus transmission rate among educators in the classroom is 0.37 percent, according to a Feb. 12 announcement made by Gov. Tim Walz and reported on by the Minnesota Reformer. Elementary schools were given the go-ahead to resume in-person instruction on Jan. 18, and as of Feb. 11, about 85 percent of K-8 classes are in-person at least part time, the Reformer continues.
This low transmission rate paired with new COVID-19 guidance for schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could increase the pressure on Walz and state leaders to get more students back into the classroom. Growing research notes that schools aren’t the super-spreaders they were once feared to be, and distance learning has taken a social, an emotional, and an academic toll on many students and families. The director of the CDC recently told reporters that schools can reopen safely even if teachers are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC. “I would also say that vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.” Walensky cited CDC data that social distancing and wearing a mask reduce the spread of COVID in school settings.
More than 45,000 Minnesota teachers, school staff and child care workers have received the coronavirus vaccination, according to the Reformer.
Catrin Wigfall is a Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment.
Catrin’s experience in education and policy research began during her time with the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. Her interest in education policy led her to spend two years teaching 5th grade general education and 6th grade Latin in Arizona as a Teach for America corps member. She then used her classroom experience to transition back into education policy work at the California Policy Center before joining American Experiment in February 2017.
Catrin graduated summa cum laude from Azusa Pacific University in California, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.