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  • Harlan Gallinger, MD

Research demonstrates benefit of 1 meter physical distancing, benefit for 2 meters is questionable

If hospitals and long term care facilities would be "High Baseline Risk for Infection," (Blue line) schools would be Low (Green line) or at worst Moderate Risk (Red line) given the low prevalence of COVID-19 in our children and communities. Robust daily screening practices of every student and staff will keep our baseline risk Low.

You can see what the % decrease in absolute risk reduction for physical distancing between 0 meters, 1 meter, 2 meters, and 3 meters. If the difference between 1 meter and 2 meter physical distancing is the difference between our ability to open schools to in-person learning versus not, ask yourself if the potential <0.3% risk reduction of COVID-19 transmission in an already low-risk, low-prevalent population of students and teachers will provide a meaningfully significant measure of safety that outweighs the negative impact to our state's students, especially those with special needs, learning English, and in poverty.

Certainly the risk of not opening our schools to in-person learning will have a much more dramatic impact to the academic and social-emotional learning and mental health for every student in our state. Now is the time to speak up to Legislators, OSPI, DOH, & L&I to ask them to use science and Washington state COVID-19 data to make their policy decisions, not "6 feet" which was from a study in the 1930's!

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9/fulltext

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