As the debate continues in the U.S., we're seeing this play out in real-time around the world.
RELATED: Expect face masks, social distancing, possible 'hybrid' learning when kids return to classrooms, CA superintendent says
Jeremy Howard, data scientist at USF, says Israel had nearly wiped out COVID-19 and were down to 10 active cases. Then schools reopened and cases are now growing "out of control", Howard said.
"Israel did a lot of things right. They did a lockdown at schools and then they gradually brought schools back in a safe way, small classes that didn't interact at all. They did it for two weeks, and then against the guidance of their health experts, the government said everything is open. Within a month, massive outbreaks."
Howard said there is a very similar situation happening in his hometown Melbourne, Australia. The schools there focused on sanitizing but did not require masks and reported that social distancing was "poor." In Israel, reports suggest masks were not widely used as well.
Howard suggests one of the safest things to do when kids are in school is to have them wear masks.
"Kids can wear masks. My four-year-old daughter refuses not to wear a mask," Howard said. "When you wear a mask that droplet cloud, that germ cloud, is smaller."
INTERVIEW: Will wearing masks help California squash 2nd coronavirus surge? UCSF's Dr. Wachter explains
Howard also responded to the argument that kids don't get sick.
"Kids almost never get significant enough symptoms that they end up as a recorded case, so there's a huge amount of unrecorded transmission in kids," Howard said.
RELATED: Should students wear masks? If so, when and for how long? Here's what experts say
He referred to Sweden not closing down the school system and said Sweden health officials did a survey and tested people at random.
"Turned out, kids had about as much COVID-19 as adults did," Howard said. "The transmission was just as bad. We have no reason to believe that those kids can't then pass it onto their teachers, parents and grandparents just as easily as adults."
Howard acknowledges what every school district is experiencing - that reopening is complicated, but Howard says masks help.
Tune in every Monday through Friday for ABC7 News at 3 p.m. for special coverage of Bay Area events and more on the COVID-19 pandemic.
WATCH: Tuesday's full episode of Getting Answers in the media player below
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here. Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- From salons to dinner parties: Experts rate the risk of 12 activities
- California reopening: Here's what's open, closed in the Bay Area
- Watch list: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse
- When will the San Francisco Bay Area reopen? Track progress on 6 key metrics to reopening here
- Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like
- Here's everything allowed to open in CA (and what we're still waiting on)
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Experts compare face shield vs. face mask effectiveness
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- WATCH: ABC7 Listens 'From Anger To Action: A Bay Area Conversation'
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US