Title: Balancing incomplete COVID-19 evidence and local priorities: risk communication and stakeholder engagement strategies for school re-opening.
Authors: Hoover, Anna G; Heiger-Bernays, Wendy; Ojha, Sweta; Pennell, Kelly G
Published In Rev Environ Health, (2021 Mar 26)
Abstract: In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, United States (U.S.) educational institutions must weigh incomplete scientific evidence to inform decisions about how best to re-open schools without sacrificing public health. While many communities face surging case numbers, others are experiencing case plateaus or even decreasing numbers. Simultaneously, some U.S. school systems face immense infrastructure challenges and resource constraints, while others are better positioned to resume face-to-face instruction. In this review, we first examine potential engineering controls to reduce SARS-CoV-2 exposures; we then present processes whereby local decision-makers can identify and partner with scientists, faculty, students, parents, public health officials, and others to determine the controls most appropriate for their communities. While no solution completely eliminates risks of SARS-CoV-2 exposure and illness, this mini-review discusses engaged decision and communication processes that incorporate current scientific knowledge, school district constraints, local tolerance for health risk, and community priorities to help guide schools in selecting and implementing re-opening strategies that are acceptable, feasible, and context-specific.
PubMed ID: 33001857
MeSH Terms: COVID-19/epidemiology*; COVID-19/prevention & control*; COVID-19/transmission; Communicable Disease Control/methods; Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration; Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data; Communication*; Humans; Public Health; Return to School*/organization & administration; Risk; SARS-CoV-2; Stakeholder Participation*; United States/epidemiology