Dec 12, 2020 - Health

CDC: Public schools need about $22 billion to safely reopen doors

School bus with money
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Public schools would have to spend between $55 and $442 per student on average to implement COVID-19 safety precautions for in-person classes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated on Friday.

Why it matters: Schools have already spent millions to re-open and close — hitting many districts with pandemic-strained budgets particularly hard.

The big picture: The bare minimum costs recommended would go toward sanitization products and physical barriers for classrooms. The highest estimates include the cost to hire additional custodial staff and have more transportation options.

  • The range in state estimates is largely influenced by transportation costs.
  • There are nearly 51 million public school students in the U.S.

Worth noting: The estimates do not include the money districts would need to provide face masks for students, teachers and staff, food service and contract tracing, per the report.

The bottom line: Though evidence so far indicates that the risk for serious COVID-19-related illness among children is lower, teachers, staff and adults in the education sector could largely benefit from the investment.

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