Rebuilding a healthy social contract for the U.S. requires focusing on health as a foundation for the “safety and happiness” of the people. Those are the words used in the Declaration of Independence as a translation of the ancient Roman dictum salus populi suprema lex esto (“let the health of the people be the supreme law”). We must begin the pursuit of a foundation for health from the principle that we do not abandon anyone, from a concept of solidarity that is a deep but submerged strand in American history. We must also expand our understanding of health from a strictly medical definition to a social definition to support human flourishing.
The Center has an ongoing project focused on the concept of ancestry. The project is motivated by the increasing importance of genetic ancestry to a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, public health, genetics, and sociology. The project aims to describe how ancestry is being evoked and used across disciplines, and propose normative guidance for how it should be used.
This package of resources includes a “Roadmap to Healthy Schools,” a practical guide to school-based infection control, produced by members of the task force; a consensus statement on the latest CDC guidance, issued by leading scientists convened by the task force’s organizers; and a use of funds advisory memo for how states might allocate resources toward infection prevention and control, developed by the task force’s organizers.
“We recognize that many places are already deep in the work of integrating the CDC’s guidance on infection prevention and control measures into how schools operate. We also know that there are some schools at the start of this process,” said Danielle Allen, Task Force Chair and James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard. “Our aim was to produce tools that can meet communities where they are and provide recommendations on who should take on the various elements of infection control at the state, local, and school level, and how it can be done.”
The Roadmap includes useful case studies of promising practices from schools and districts that have been successful with resuming in-person instruction, as well as tools and recommendations that can be used to replicate some of those practices.
In the consensus statement, scientists confirm that a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a robust body of evidence has emerged that settles many questions about how to best protect students and staff inside schools. This includes evidence that addresses the change in recommended classroom distancing in the CDC guidance.
The use of funds memo outlines an approach to make strategic use of the authorized funds to implement robust IPC programs in K-12 systems, outlining four key areas of one-time and recurring investments: 1) creation of state guidance; 2) facilities; 3) infection prevention and control training and professional development; and 4) school health workforce and public health workforce assigned to support schools.
“Families and educators are eager to get students back in their schools, and robust infection prevention and control programs are key to ensuring safe in-person learning environments for students and staff,” said Ronn Nozoe, CEO of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “Access to this guidance from the task force helps increase school leader confidence that our school buildings can reopen safely.”
Is each state matching their daily targets for distribution and daily doses administered? Our dashboard shows if in each state, doses administered each day match daily targets. The dashboard also is unique in showing crucial information such as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths alongside vaccine distribution and administered doses, allowing comparisons between vaccination progress and the size and impact of continued outbreaks in each state.