Questions for ‘Got back-to-school COVID-19 questions? We’ve got answers’

child removing a mask to eat lunch in a school cafeteria

Universal masking in schools is key to blocking transmission of COVID-19, research shows. This picture shows an elementary school student in Louisville, Ky., popping her mask back on after finishing her lunch. 

Jon Cherry/Getty Images

To accompanyWe’re answering 6 answers of your back-to-school COVID-19 questions


Before Reading:

1.  More than 17 months into a raging pandemic, kids across the planet are returning to in-person education. What are the issues about coronavirus risks that most stress you out about going back to school? How have you been trying to address those issues so that you can get the most out of returning to your classrooms and friends?

2.  Will you be wearing a mask in school this fall? What is the status of mask requirements in your school and the community around it?

3.  What questions about COVID-19 would you most like answered?

During Reading:

1.  What is the delta variant?

2.  How far apart does the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that students remain while in school?

3.  What do data from Dana Ramirez’s study suggest about the risk of COVID-19’s spread among kids riding a bus to and from school? How important were masks in that study?

4.  How important are masks in small classrooms, according to Kanecia Zimmerman? 

5.  What two types of testing are available for identifying people infected with the coronavirus? How do they differ? In what type of classrooms is coronavirus testing especially important, according to Lynn Silver and Adam Hersh?

6.  What data do Daniel Benjamin point to in making the case that the delta variant is no better at getting through masks than other forms of the coronavirus?

After Reading:

1.  Name four ways you can help keep yourself safe from COVID-19 when you’re in school. Now rank them in order of which is most important. Which have you and members of your family been employing when you leave your home?

2.  What have you learned from these experts that might suggest ways to improve your safety when outside the home (especially at school)? What questions remain unanswered for you after hearing from these experts? If you could ask two questions, what would they be and to which experts would you address them?

Lillian Steenblik Hwang is the associate digital editor for Science News for Explores. She has a bachelor's degree in biology (and a minor in chemistry) from Georgia State University and a master's degree in in science journalism from Boston University.