It is the start of a school year unlike any other. Many schools, especially in large urban districts, are fully remote. In New York, school opening was announced and then delayed. Some schools have opened and then grappled with quarantine. Others started closed and are now opening.
As this has been happening, I’ve been talking and writing a lot about school opening and the best ways for parents and educators to gauge the risks involved. My central message has been that we need to focus on the denominators.
What does that mean?
Much of the reporting on schools has focused on cases of Covid-19. There are several dashboards, including in The Times, which do an excellent job of collecting the available information on coronavirus cases in schools. That information is limited, but it has grown over time.
What these reports lack, though, is a sense of the size of the pool. Knowing that there are five cases associated with a school may be useful information, but it is difficult to interpret that information without knowing whether those cases occurred in a school of 15 students or a school of 1,500.