Analysis: In Thousands of Districts, 4-Day School Weeks Are Robbing Students of Learning Time for What Amounts to Hygiene Theater


April 27, 2021

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made clear that good ventilation and consistent mask wearing are far more effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 than disinfecting surfaces.

This clarification was long overdue. Scientists have long suspected that the virus is mainly airborne. They recognized that measures like deep cleaning and temperature checks were likely more effective as hygiene theater than as a strategy for actually limiting spread.

In the meantime, however, thousands of school districts across the country built enormously complex fall reopening plans with a full day for at-home learning, dedicated to student check-ins, teacher planning — and deep cleaning. The result is a modified four-day week with students receiving significantly less live instruction per week.


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