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Students sit in a classroom at a high school during the first day of classes in Novi, Mich., on Sept. 7, 2021. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After tens of thousands of kids were sent home to isolate due to COVID-19 exposure in the first days of in-person schooling, more districts are starting to pivot toward a "test-to-stay" strategy, the New York Times reports.

What's happening: Many schools are largely using a contact tracing method in which close contacts of someone who tests positive for the virus must isolate at home.

  • But a new study from The Lancet found about 2% of school-based close contacts ultimately tested positive for the virus, meaning schools were keeping 49 uninfected students out of class every time one student tested positive, per the Times.
  • That same study suggests a "test-to-stay approach" — or allowing asymptomatic kids who test negative for the virus to stay in school — can be safe, per the Times.

Why it matters: The consensus largely supports the importance of in-person schooling for kids.

  • But schools are searching for a less disruptive way to minimize risk beyond sending kids home.

What they're saying: "At this time, we do not recommend or endorse a test-to-stay program," the CDC told the Times. "However, we are working with multiple jurisdictions who have chosen to use these approaches to gather more information."

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2021 - Health

Illinois mandates daycare workers to receive COVID vaccine or weekly testing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a round table discussion with high school students in October 2018. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Friday that all daycare workers in the state will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or or submit to weekly testing.

Driving the news: Pritzker said he was issuing the requirement to protect "babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine."

Oct 22, 2021 - Health

CDC director: U.S. may change definition of "fully vaccinated" as boosters roll out

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday the U.S. "may need to update" its definition for what it means to have full vaccination against COVID.

The big picture: The CDC and the FDA have officially approved boosters with every authorized vaccine in the U.S. for people who meet specific requirements. Walensky explained that since not everyone is eligible for a booster, the definition has not been changed "yet."

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.