Roughly 20-30% of U.S. schools are planning to implement a hybrid model, in which groups of kids attend in person on alternating, part-time schedules. The idea is to ensure adequate physical distancing and curb contagion in schools during the coronavirus pandemic, but some experts think hybrid schooling could actually increase transmission risk.
In an August 12, 2020 interview on CNN with Don Lemon, William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “Schools opening ought to be a priority, and I think that when there is a low rate of community transmission, schools can open comparatively safely.” But under a hybrid model, parents are likely to seek child care when kids are at home. “All that does is add more contacts, and that means more routes into the schools,” he said. “If your goal is to stop the virus getting into schools, this is something which is only going to open more doors to it.”
Hanage was quoted about the risks of hybrid schooling in several other media outlets, including WGBH, Wired, and the Boston Globe, and he wrote an op-ed about the topic in the Washington Post.
Watch the CNN interview: Infectious diseases expert raises concerns over safety of hybrid model for reopening schools
Listen to or read the WGBH interview: Harvard Epidemiologist: ‘Hybrid’ Model For Reopening Schools Is ‘Probably Among The Worst’ Options
Read the Wired article: Hybrid Schooling May Be the Most Dangerous Option of All
Read the Boston Globe article: Some Mass. schools are pursuing hybrid schooling. The plan could be a public health disaster
Read the Washington Post op-ed: ‘Hybrid’ school plans sound safe, but they’re the riskiest option we have