Risk Assessment and Testing Considerations for Reducing SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in K-12 Schools

Risk Assessment and Testing Considerations for Reducing SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in K-12 Schools

A report from the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security provides guidance to school administrators with respect to how best to screen for and stop or reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their schools. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the report, Risk Assessment and Testing Considerations for Reducing SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in K-12 Schools (18 pages, PDF), outlines a detailed framework for assessing the risk of a virus outbreak in a school as well as key considerations when developing a screening program for students and staff. The assessment comprises three components — the likelihood of the virus being introduced into a school building, the likelihood of its transmission leading to an outbreak, and the consequences — and includes core indicators suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report also outlines approaches to and priorities for diagnostic, screening, and surveillance testing and includes sample strategies for each level of risk as well as simulated results for each strategy. The report's authors emphasize the need for school districts to work with their local health department to develop clear procedures for how to handle positive test results and to develop clear communications about the purpose and limitations of the program in order to secure community buy-in.