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A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that childcare centers can be safely reopened in low-virus levels areas. This is an encouraging discovery that could give a flicker of hope to the parents of millions of extra-curricular children in the United States who are unlikely to return to face-to-face learning soon.

Schools and childcare are critical to the country’s long path to normalcy. They enable more parents to return to work and thus help the country get out of its plight.

A federal study published Friday in 666 childcare centers in Rhode Island reopened this summer found that new cases of coronavirus and secondary transmission related to the centers were restricted. The study found that in the two months from June 1 to July 31, 29 programs reported 52 confirmed and probable cases, of which 20 programs reported only one case, and only four centers had cases involving possible virus transmission.

However, in the last two weeks of the study period, 39 of the 52 infections were reported. The state’s percentage of cases also rose at that point, making the report best for areas with low virus concentrations.

Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins University Health Research Center, described the data as “encouraging.” However, she added, “The discovery that safety measures (like wearing a mask) may prevent secondary transmission should build our confidence that these measures will be essential in the school environment.”

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