CDC guidance eases covid-19 precautions in schools has it mostly right: emphasis must shift from universal mandates to individual decisions to minimize disruption of in-person learning. CDC study found that as of February 3 out of 4 kids have had the coronavirus. People who are immunocompromised or who live with people at higher risk for severe illness should take additional precautions. High-quality masks (N95 or an equivalent) continue to protect regardless of whether others are using them, and students and teachers should be encouraged to wear them if they wish to reduce their risk of infection. The new guidance removes blanket distancing and cohorting requirements. Importantly, it also allows children exposed to covid to stay in class.
Those opposed to the CDC easing restrictions warn that the new policies will lead to super-spreader events at schools. But daily outbreaks already occur at conferences, weddings, restaurants, gyms and workplaces. This kind of individual risk calculus is already the norm for the rest of society. Restrictions cannot last forever, but policies must adjust with changing circumstances.