School Metrics

Note: As of February 12, 2021,  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools to incorporate the best available evidence at this time. The indicators and thresholds in the operational strategy replace the former core indicators in the Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making. VDH is reviewing this new operational strategy and revisions to this page are forthcoming. Users can visit the CDC COVID Data Tracker-County View for county level data until this page is updated. Please see the CDC's updated K-12 mitigation toolkit for additional resources.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, school districts have needed to balance the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission and the educational needs of children K-12, who learn best in the classroom. VDH believes decisions on whether to teach children in-person or virtually are best made locally.  Local school administrators best know the needs of their community and their schools’ capacity to carry out virtual education or manage the additional space and equipment necessary for in-person classes.  To help school districts make these decisions, VDH and the Department of Education have updated their Interim Guidance for K-12 School Reopening.  VDH recommends schools use the CDC Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making jointly with the Interim Guidance for K-12 School Reopening document to inform decisions about school operations with regard to COVID-19.

CDC Core Indicators:

CDC recommends the use of 3 core indicators when determining whether to have in-person or virtual school. These core indicators include two measures of community burden (number of new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 14 days; and percentage of RT-PCR tests that are positive during the last 14 days) and one self-assessed measure of school implementation of key mitigation strategies. Regions with low community burden have a lower risk of outbreaks in schools during in-person classes. Schools can reduce the risk of outbreaks by using mitigation strategies.  

Key mitigation strategies schools should implement are:  

  • Consistent and correct use of masks
  • Social distancing to the extent possible
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with local health department

The CDC has developed a checklist to help schools evaluate their ability to implement these mitigation measures.

The metrics below are based on the CDC Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making. The data used in the dashboard below are the same data used in the other dashboards that make up the Pandemic Metrics, but use slightly different timeframes and thresholds for evaluation.