Bay Area health company touts new, interactive model that could be key to reopen schools safely

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area Health Company Color released an interactive model that shows the best plans to reopen schools safely.

"We built this epidemiology model which is just a mathematical model that can look at viruses like SARS-CoV and how they spread into populations like schools," said Color Health's Chief Science Officer Alicia Zhou.

As school districts gear up to reopen, this data-driven model gives them an inside look at scenarios that could prevent a COVID-19 outbreak.

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"Kids under the age of 10 have a different epidemiology of infection. Meaning they are less likely to show symptoms if they are infected and they are less susceptible to infections as compared to adults. Whereas adolescents, kids who are in High School are just like adults. They have the same susceptibility to infection and the same likeliness to show symptoms. That's why we broke into two different models," explained Zhou.

The model allows for districts to select how frequently new cases are occurring to try to understand what's the likelihood of an outbreak in your school.

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Luz Pena: "What do you recommend for elementary and high schools to reopen?"

Alicia Zhou: "I think it's cohorting of students can be very helpful, aggressively testing of students, teacher and staff is incredibly important and as soon as vaccines are available for students to get as many individuals vaccinated as possible."

This year Color began working with California's Department of Public health on a reopening plan for schools.

"We're in the process of onboarding over 1,000 public school districts across the state. Every school district is actually eligible for the program and it's sponsored by the CA department of public health," said Caroline Savello, Color's Chief Commercial Officer.

With the state's partnership, they believe students and staff members should be tested at least once a week.

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"We are making it very easy for every district in the state of California to be able to provide testing in schools for staff, for students and for teachers. All the software and infrastructure," said Savello.

Savello says they can help schools reopen safely with their model, "Basically within a few days any school can be set up and testing their students and their staff to make sure that is safe in their school."

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To view the model click here.


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