Expert: Children should return to school in the fall

Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, believes that schools can safely reopen in the fall during the COVID-19 pandemic if they follow a number of risk-reduction measures. He discussed school openings in a June 24, 2020 op-ed in the Washington Post and a June 25, 2020 interview in the Harvard Gazette, as well as in a recently released report produced with colleagues from the School’s Healthy Buildings program, of which he is director.

Allen said that since children are at lower risk from complications of COVID-19; basic societal risk-reduction measures are having an effect; and widespread school closures come with devastating costs to children’s education, health, and safety, schools should reopen in the fall. He noted that although there will still be some risk, it can be kept relatively low if schools follow a host of recommendations, including creating a culture of health, safety, and shared responsibility; ensuring that students and staff stay at home when sick; and following mask-wearing and social-distancing measures.

Read the Washington Post op-ed: Yes, kids should be going back to school in the fall

Read the Harvard Gazette article: Healthy buildings expert outlines recommendations for school reopenings

Read the report: Schools for Health: Risk Reduction Strategies for Reopening Schools