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  1. Ndeffo Mbah, Martial L (Ed.)
    The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic led to closure of nearly all K-12 schools in the United States of America in March 2020. Although reopening K-12 schools for in-person schooling is desirable for many reasons, officials understand that risk reduction strategies and detection of cases are imperative in creating a safe return to school. Furthermore, consequences of reclosing recently opened schools are substantial and impact teachers, parents, and ultimately educational experiences in children. To address competing interests in meeting educational needs with public safety, we compare the impact of physical separation through school cohorts on SARS-CoV-2 infections against policies acting at the level of individual contacts within classrooms. Using an age-stratified Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Removed model, we explore influences of reduced class density, transmission mitigation, and viral detection on cumulative prevalence. We consider several scenarios over a 6-month period including (1) multiple rotating cohorts in which students cycle through in-person instruction on a weekly basis, (2) parallel cohorts with in-person and remote learning tracks, (3) the impact of a hypothetical testing program with ideal and imperfect detection, and (4) varying levels of aggregate transmission reduction. Our mathematical model predicts that reducing the number of contacts through cohorts produces a larger effect than diminishing transmission rates per contact. Specifically, the latter approach requires dramatic reduction in transmission rates in order to achieve a comparable effect in minimizing infections over time. Further, our model indicates that surveillance programs using less sensitive tests may be adequate in monitoring infections within a school community by both keeping infections low and allowing for a longer period of instruction. Lastly, we underscore the importance of factoring infection prevalence in deciding when a local outbreak of infection is serious enough to require reverting to remote learning. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Background Health care personnel (HCP) are at high risk for exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While personal protective equipment (PPE) may mitigate this risk, prospective data collection on its use and other risk factors for seroconversion in this population is needed. Objective The primary objectives of this study are to (1) determine the incidence of, and risk factors for, SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCP at a tertiary care medical center and (2) actively monitor PPE use, interactions between study participants via electronic sensors, secondary cases in households, and participant mental health and well-being. Methods To achieve these objectives, we designed a prospective, observational study of SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCP and their household contacts at an academic tertiary care medical center in North Carolina, USA. Enrolled HCP completed frequent surveys on symptoms and work activities and provided serum and nasal samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing every 2 weeks. Additionally, interactions between participants and their movement within the clinical environment were captured with a smartphone app and Bluetooth sensors. Finally, a subset of participants’ households was randomly selected every 2 weeks for further investigation, and enrolled households provided serum and nasal samples via at-home collection kits. Results As of December 31, 2020, 211 HCP and 53 household participants have been enrolled. Recruitment and follow-up are ongoing and expected to continue through September 2021. Conclusions Much remains to be learned regarding the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCP and their household contacts. Through the use of a multifaceted prospective study design and a well-characterized cohort, we will collect critical information regarding SARS-CoV-2 transmission risks in the health care setting and its linkage to the community. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID) DERR1-10.2196/25410 
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