Erica Green of the New York Times wrote to ask me to delete the post saying that the New York Times was wrong in reporting that the CDC recommends that schools close for eight weeks.

She asked me to delete my post. My posts includes links to the CDC guidance. I recommend that everyone read the CDC guidance.

She wrote me personally defending her story, and included an email to a reader as follows:

I am responding to your email about my story that includes the CDC guidance on school closures to address COVID-19. Thank you for writing.

Ms. Ravitch’s assessment my story was incorrect is flat-out wrong. I will be writing to demand she correct or delete her defamatory blog post.

The CDC guidance linked here very clearly states:
It states (top of page 3): “Closing schools early in the spread of disease for a short time (e.g., 2 weeks) will be unlikely to stem the spread of disease or prevent impact on the health care system, while causing significant disruption for families, schools, and those who may be responding to COVID-19 outbreaks in health care settings. It may also increase impact on older adults who care for grandchildren. Waiting to enact school closures until at the correct time in the epidemic (e.g., later in the spread of disease) combined with other social distancing interventions allows for optimal impact despite disruption.”

However, in the case of 8-20 weeks, (page 5) it says: “Modeling data for other respiratory infections where children have higher disease impacts, suggests that longer closures may have greater impact in terms of overall transmission.Provides substantial protection for older staff and students and staff with underlying medical conditions.”

She is correct that the guidance in nuanced in that it presents a variety of scenarios for schools to weigh. But our job is to capture what school leaders and the public needs to know, and these were the two most crucial pieces of information given what was transpiring across the country (mostly 2-4 week closures): short-term doesn’t work, and long-term might work, with transmission. Of course, there are downsides and cautions in all situations, which I outline later in the story.

I do not know if CDC was pressured to do anything, except release some guidance to help schools decide what may be the most effective way to slow down the transmission of the virus. That’s what we reported. And it was accurate. This has also been reported in education outlets, and national outlets.

Hope that helps.