SBHA partners with COVID Collaborative, Harvard’s Safra Center, Brown School of Public Health, and New America to produce new resources on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in schools

This school year has been a crash course in flexibility and adaptation. After pivoting to online learning early in the pandemic, schools and districts have had to integrate infection prevention and control measures to enable in-person instruction while protecting the health and safety of students and staff. COVID Collaborative, the Harvard Edmund J. Safra Center of Ethics, the Brown School of Public Health and New America formed a task force to develop resources and tools to support educators and leaders in practicing infection prevention and control measures in schools and districts. The task force brought together experts and practitioners across education and health to lend their insight. I was a member of this task force, and I am thrilled to share these resources with you today.

In essence, we’ve taken the CDC guidance, which spells out the what of infection prevention and control (IPC), and developed recommendations on who should do the work of IPC and how it can be done. These resources are concrete and tactical and are meant to be adapted for the diverse contexts of our schools. They are designed to support schools that are already doing this work, as well as to help those that are just getting started—they are intended to meet schools and districts where they are and be a source of insight and inspiration.

Among these resources, you’ll find:

  • A Roadmap to Healthy Schools that provides a tactical overview of the core elements of effective IPC, complete with promising practices and case studies from schools and districts that have successfully resumed in-person instruction this year;
  • A consensus statement from leading scientists that builds on the CDC guidance and makes clear the evidence of the effectiveness of layered IPC measures in schools;
  • A use of funds advisory memo that outlines recommendations for deploying authorized funds for IPC practices throughout the K-12 sector, including suggestions for facilities, training, and workforce investments.

We invite you to watch this short clip of task force lead Dr. Danielle Allen, Director of the Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, introducing the context for these tools and how to use them. We will host a webinar on these resources on Friday, May 21 at 1 pm EDT. Task force leads will walk through the tools and share strategies for implementing effective IPC in schools and provide promising practice examples from across the country. Please register here to attend.

Our hope is that these resources not only support you in reducing the transmission risk of COVID-19, but also provide a framework for safe and sustainable in-person learning during other public health challenges—from flu outbreaks to future pandemics. Should you have questions or feedback on the tools and their use, please contact Meredith Sumpter (sumpter@newamerica.org) and Lily Jacobs (lilyjacobs@fas.harvard.edu).

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