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Science  27 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6520, pp. 1023-1027
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6520.1023

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Schools around the world are again the site of a large, and largely uncontrolled, experiment. When schools reopened in April and May as the first wave of COVID-19 cases subsided, the virus stayed mostly at bay. Health and education officials cheered, relieved that the huge benefits of in-person schooling seemed to outweigh the risk of viral spread among children and teachers—and from schools to wider communities. As a result, many places that had moved cautiously at first threw open classroom doors in August and September. But the backdrop is very different now: In many areas, COVID-19 has surged to even higher levels than early in the year. In July, Science examined the mostly encouraging lessons from the first reopenings. Now, scrutiny of school openings in countries where the virus is resurgent paints a more complex picture of the risks and how they might be managed. 

  • With reporting by Linda Nordling and Emiliano Rodríguez Mega.

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