Look at risks of in-person schooling. Letter, Schenectady, New York

Michaels, Robert A. Look at risks of in-person schooling. Letter, Schenectady, New York; Daily Gazette, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/347358002_Look_at_Risks_of_In-person_Schooling_Letter_to_the_Editor_Daily_Gazette_Newspaper_Schenectady_New_York_16_December_2020, 16 December 2020;

The need to adopt effective strategies to suppress our surging COVID-19 pandemic lends urgency to the question of whether schools should be open or closed. Infection risks at schools may be lower than at students’ homes. Many New Yorkers therefore advocate keeping non-residential elementary, middle and high schools open. This reasoning is simplistic and invalid. Non-residential schools might be kept open if incremental risks are acceptably low, and if the benefits are deemed to justify the infection risks. They should not be kept open simply because school risks are lower than home risks. Infection risks at residential schools versus homes differ in being independent. Those risks can be compared to decide whether instruction should be on-campus or remote. If risks are lower on campus, students living there would be safer, and colleges could hold in-person classes. Analogous reasoning is invalid for non-residential schools. Their students attend school for only part of the day, but they live at home. This nexus brings school risks to homes, and home risks to schools. Non-residential schools cannot be opened or closed based upon risk comparison, because the risks are entangled, and are therefore (at least) additive. Such co-mingling promotes risk enhancement and community spread.