As millions of Americans get vaccinated against the coronavirus, a post-COVID-19 world is beginning to take shape. CDC guidelines prioritize vaccines for teachers, though COVID-19 immunizations will not be required to resume in-person learning. What are the implications?

On Wednesday, April 21 at 1:30pm ET, Washington Post Live will host a discussion about what life will look like when school is fully back in session. School administrators, teachers and health experts weigh in on how schools across the country are preparing for in-classroom learning with coronavirus prevention and mitigation protocols in place. Join City School District of Albany superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams, Marietta City Schools superintendent Grant Rivera, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security senior scholar Jennifer Nuzzo and Brown University professor of economics Emily Oster for this discussion.


Last year, the Marietta City school district partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the safety of in-person learning for children and teachers. Marietta Schools Superintendent Grant Rivera said, “Our CDC partnership that we have looks specifically at school-based transmission. And what we learned through that CDC partnership in December and January was that school-based transmission occurred most frequently between adults. Second to that was adults to children. What we saw less frequently as we looked at testing our students really, doing very in-depth contact tracing, was we saw much less frequency of student-to-student transmissions. So that really very much informs how we reengineer classrooms and change dynamics in schools. And most importantly, the implications for vaccinating adults who are in our buildings.” (Washington Post Live)
When asked how she envisioned the beginning of next school year in the fall, superintendent Adams responded, “Our goal is to have all our students back in person. Our partnership with the CDC and our New York State department of health as well as our local Albany county department of health is critical, because we know that data is changing. We just received guidance about a week ago with regard to here are the changes with regard to social distancing. We are planning in that way[...] because we want to get our students back in person.” (Washington Post Live)
When asked if there were any reasons children shouldn’t return to school in the fall, Jennifer Nuzzo said: “There will not be in my view an epidemiologic, a public health reason to keep kids out of school. I think, though, that there is still a problem if teachers do not feel comfortable being there. In my view as a parent, that’s a problem and I think we need to do more to increase that comfort, because while I can say ‘Listen, I feel fully comfortable sending my kids to school,” and really really hope that his school will allow him to go full-time in the fall, I know it won’t be a positive experience if his teachers feel they’re there under duress.” (Washington Post Live)
Oster said making comparisons to assessing everyday risks—like driving a car– can make “small probabilities” about coronavirus more understandable. She said, “Even now, it’s very difficult for people to understand the idea of these small probabilities, so the more we can give them context for thinking about those risks, and put them inside this space of the risks they’re already taking. We can say, you know every year this is the number of kids in our school that would typically get the seasonal flu, and you know this is the number of kids that we’d expect to get covid,[…] And that’s a way to start some of these steps[…] towards people feeling comfortable adapting to the idea of returning to some semblancy of normalcy in school but also in other areas, while accepting that we’ll not be doing so in a space of zero covid.” (Washington Post Live)


Kaweeda G. Adams

Mrs. Kaweeda G. Adams is the proud superintendent of the City School District of Albany. The district is comprised of 16 schools and approximately 9,000 diverse students from prekindergarten through grade 12. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, and a third-generation educator, Mrs. Adams served in a variety of teaching and administrative positions in the Clark County (Nevada) School District, the nation’s fifth-largest school district, for 28 years prior to accepting the leadership role in Albany in 2017. She is committed to providing diverse, equitable educational opportunities to meet the needs of all students, mentoring and coaching instructional leaders, and building quality instructional delivery systems combined with systemic progress monitoring, job embedded professional development, and effective, value-added supervision. In New York’s Capital City, Mrs. Adams has been a leader in developing the first Equity in Education Policy (January 2019), which serves as the foundational lens for restructuring instructional and operational best practices. Under Mrs. Adams’ leadership, the district is committed to enhancing the delivery of quality instruction through culturally responsive education and implementing research-based educational practices to eliminate racial predictability of student success, disproportionality in behavioral consequences, inequities impacting marginalized and underserved populations, and systemic barriers to opportunities and access.

Grant Rivera, Superintendent, Marietta City Schools, Ga.

Dr. Grant Rivera is a career educator committed to serving every child and supporting every family. He believes great schools and communities are built on the combined talents of talented educators and an engaged community. He serves as the Superintendent of Marietta City Schools, becoming the 13th superintendent since 1892, leading the district’s 11 schools, approximately 8,900 students and 1,200 employees. Prior to this position, he served as the Chief of Staff for the Cobb County School District, which has 112 schools and over 111,000 students. He was a principal for nine years at three high schools: South Cobb High School in Austell (2005-2009), Campbell High School in Smyrna (2009-2011), and Westlake High School in South Fulton County (2011-2014). Prior to being appointed principal, Grant held positions as a high school assistant principal, special education teacher, and coach in the Cobb County School District. ​ Grant received his bachelor’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama. He holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Alabama, with an emphasis in school law. Grant has been associated with numerous professional development activities in the area of school law, school law enforcement officer research, and special education law. He also served as adjunct professor of educational law at the University of West Georgia. Grant has worked with school districts around the country as a consultant and practitioner for school improvement and family engagement. Grant and his wife, Jenn, have two daughters - Lauren and Reese.

Jennifer Nuzzo, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Dr. Nuzzo is a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. An epidemiologist by training, her work focuses on global health security, with a focus on pandemic preparedness, outbreak detection and response, health systems as they relate to global health security, biosurveillance, and infectious disease diagnostics. She directs the Outbreak Observatory, which conducts, in partnership with frontline public health practitioners, operational research to improve outbreak preparedness and response.

Dr. Nuzzo is also the lead epidemiologist for the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Testing Insights Initiative housed within the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Together with colleagues from the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Economist Intelligence Unit, she coleads the development of the first-ever Global Health Security Index, which benchmarks 195 countries’ public health and healthcare capacities and capabilities, their commitment to international norms and global health security financing, and their socioeconomic, political, and environmental risk environments. Previously, she conducted research related to the Affordable Care Act, tuberculosis control, foodborne outbreaks, and water security. Dr. Nuzzo is an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Health Security.

In addition to her work at the Center, Dr. Nuzzo advises national governments and for-profit and nonprofit organizations on pandemic preparedness and response, including COVID-19. She has also served as a member of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) and the NDWAC’s Water Security Working Group. She has also served as a project advisor for the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (now called the Water Research Foundation), a primary funding organization for drinking water research in the United States.

Prior to joining the Center for Health Security, Dr. Nuzzo worked as a public health epidemiologist for the City of New York, where she was involved with disease and syndromic surveillance efforts related to the city’s Waterborne Disease Risk Assessment Program. Central to her duties was the management of an over-the-counter medication sales monitoring program, which was part of the city’s syndromic surveillance efforts. She also previously worked for the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts on a local climate change initiative.

Dr. Nuzzo received a DrPH in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, an SM in environmental health from Harvard University, and a BS in environmental sciences from Rutgers University.

Emily Oster, Professor of Economics, Brown University

Emily Oster is a Professor of Economics at Brown University. She holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University.

Emily’s academic work focuses on health economics, development economics, and statistical methods. In addition to her academic work, Emily has written two bestselling books on data driven parenting, “Expecting Better” and “Cribsheet”. Her third book, “The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years” is set to come out in August 2021. Emily’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, CNBC, NPR, Slate and more. Currently, Emily is working on the National COVID School Response Dashboard, [] which she developed with Qualtrics.

Content from Siemens Healthineers

(Washington Post Live)

This content was produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the production of this content.

Reopening our schools safely

Broad vaccination in the U.S. will likely not reach the 50M children enrolled in our K-12 school systems until the end of the calendar year. High quality SARS-CoV-2 tests in schools—along with hygiene, safety precautions and social distancing—will help control the spread and get us safely to what’s next. Highly accurate testing at scale is essential as we move into the next phases of the pandemic, and Siemens Healthineers offers a comprehensive testing portfolio including high volume lab-based antigen assays and others, like PCR testing. In this segment, different testing options are outlined, with a focus on how they can be implemented in the new American classroom.

Deepak Nath, PhD, President, Siemens Healthineers Laboratory Diagnostics

Deepak Nath was appointed President of Siemens Healthineers Laboratory Diagnostics in February 2018.

Dr. Nath has more than 20 years of wide-ranging leadership experience in healthcare, including general management, strategy, R&D, commercial operations, and change management. Prior to Siemens Healthineers, Dr. Nath served as President of Abbott’s Vascular division and as an executive officer of Abbott. His 10-year career there also comprised a variety of global leadership roles of increasing responsibility, including President of the Molecular Diagnostics division, Divisional Vice President and General Manager of Ibis Biosciences, and several commercial leadership positions across mature and emerging markets.

Earlier in his career, he held positions at Amgen, where he led process improvement initiatives; at McKinsey, serving clients in a range of industries including medical devices and pharma, and as a scientist in the computational physics group at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Nath has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Mechanics, all from the University of California, Berkeley.

Interviewed by Jeanne Meserve, Journalist, CTV News

Jeanne Meserve is a homeland security expert and analyst, moderator, and award-winning journalist. She is currently a Security Expert for Canada’s CTV News. While a correspondent and anchor at CNN and ABC Jeanne earned her profession’s highest honors, including two Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She also contributed to two CNN Peabody Awards.

Jeanne is a member of the Homeland Security Experts Group and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, and serves on the board of the non-profit Space Foundation.

She moderates discussions on topics ranging from technology and security, to medicine and the environment. Clients include AtlanticLIVE, the Munich Security Conference, the Aspen Security Forum, the Halifax International Security Forum, and the global conferences of the International Women’s Forum.

At CNN Meserve created the homeland security beat, covering intelligence, law enforcement, cyber, aviation, border and port security. She anchored worldwide coverage of the Yitzhak Rabin assassination and the death of Princess Diana, and was the first to report on the devastating flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She was a key member of the CNN political team during the 1996 and 2000 elections. While at ABC News she covered the State Department and reported from the Middle East, Asia and Europe.