Emily Oster, a professor of economics at Brown University, speaks during an interview on October 12.
Emily Oster, a professor of economics at Brown University, speaks during an interview on October 12. CNN

Early data from the Covid-19 School Response Dashboard shows that schools don’t appear to be the major spreaders of Covid-19 that experts once feared. 

On reopening of K-12 schools, data taken from the last two weeks of September from more than 200,000 students attending school in-person from 47 states found an infection rate of 0.13% among students and 0.24% among staff. The dashboard is operated by Brown University and the School Superintendents Association. 

“I think that one thing is that the rates we’re seeing is fairly low, lower than what we’re seeing generally in the community,” Emily Oster, a professor of economics at Brown University told CNN on Monday. 

“It looks like some people get Covid elsewhere and they’re at school, so it’s not that there’s no Covid, but rates are low compared to what people would expect,” Oster said. 

Oster said her team is looking into which mitigation factors are working, including wearing masks, social distancing, and home screening temperature checks. 

“Those are the kinds of things I think we can learn from this data which will help other schools reopen more safely,” Oster told King. 

There is currently no federal attempt to systematically map how Covid-19 is spreading across schools in the US, so Oster and her team have had to pioneer their own method of self-reporting from schools. 

“I think our team feels like there should be somebody else doing this,” she said. “I’m sort of hoping as we grow this, maybe there will be more input from the government, but I think so far we haven’t seen that, which is why we’re doing it.” 

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