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Testing Shows Schools Aren’t Propelling Covid-19 Outbreaks

While they may not be catalysts for the virus, schools tend to reflect surges in their communities

A teacher looks at the work of a student at an elementary school in San Francisco, on Oct. 5. 

A teacher looks at the work of a student at an elementary school in San Francisco, on Oct. 5. 

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Schools across the U.S. have been open for weeks, and so far relatively few appear to have spread Covid-19 among students or into wider communities. Now, with holiday travel ahead and infections surging, teachers and parents are waiting to see whether that success holds.   

In New York City, the first major U.S. city to fully reopen its public schools, random testing of students and staff  in its most recent sampling  two weeks ago, showed an extremely low positivity rate of less than 0.2%. Even as cases have spiked in some areas of Brooklyn and Queens, causing schools there to shutter, no outbreaks in schools have been reported.