Opinion: Listen: A scientist-parent on heading back-to-school with Delta

Alicia Zhou was worried about sending her son, Davi, to in-person first grade this year, especially as the Delta variant of Covid-19 spreads and children under age 12 are still ineligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19. But instead of just being concerned, she tried to answer the question, “How do we ensure that kids are safe at school while still reaping the benefits of in-person learning?”

As the chief science officer at a health technology company, Zhou worked with colleagues to make a model that simulates the course of an outbreak after an infected person enters a congregate setting such as a school. Based on the model, they also created a simulation that lets users vary different mitigation strategies, like better ventilation and wearing masks, to see their effects on the the spread of the disease.

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