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UNMC helps districts with back-to-school plans

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jul 28, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Cases of COVID-19 in Douglas County are some of the highest from across the state. UNMC is helping schools prepare to open in two weeks.

"I've been to three schools in the last four days, to get eyes on, talk with administrators, teachers and leaders to really work through their plans and to see how we can improve them," said Dr. John Lowe, executive director for the Education Global Center for Health Security at UNMC.

He's part of a team that put together a playbook which provides a color coded scale — green to red with red meaning uncontrolled spread — broken down into 50 cases per million per day. Douglas County is very much in the red which means schools could be at a high risk.

"Schools are as safe as the communities in which they exist," Lowe said. "So if we have unmitigated COVID transmission in a community, then we would expect to see it schools as well."

The playbook provides basic guidelines to follow: masks, cleaning and social distancing.

They compiled data from schools already in Europe to develop this information. If cases begin to get out control, it would be up to the county health department to decide what happens next..