The CRS Health & Safety Committee will be monitoring specific public health metrics to assist with the assessment of risk of the in-person learning model. These metrics include the average daily COVID cases per 100,000 residents in Massachusetts and the positive COVID test rate. Both of these metrics provide an estimate of the risk of community transmission and allow us to assess the risk that a student or faculty member contracts the virus outside of school (and if asymptomatic, might unknowingly participate in in-person learning with the virus).
The first of these metrics is particularly important for us to monitor; the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recently endorsed using the average daily COVID cases per 100,000 residents metric to guide which learning model (in-person, hybrid, or remote) a school should use. Specifically, a measure of fewer than 4 cases per 100,000 supports an in-person learning model because it represents a low likelihood a student or faculty member will contract the virus in their community. If this metric is between 4 and 8, DESE recommends a hybrid model in order to minimize in-person learning time and/or to optimize behavioral measures at school. If this metric is greater than 8, DESE recommends moving entirely to a remote learning model.1
Each week we will examine the average daily cases per 100,000 residents for Massachusetts, Norfolk County, and Dover. Importantly, because CRS faculty and students live in more than 40 Massachusetts cities and towns, we will use the town-specific data (released each Wednesday) to calculate an overall weighted average of daily cases per 100,000 residents in CRS communities. Simply, we use the individual town data weighted for percent of the CRS faculty and students who live in each town.