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GCS Joins Collaborative Led by Duke School of Medicine

Guilford County Schools (GCS) has joined the ABC Science Collaborative at the Duke School of Medicine, the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The collaborative was formed to assist school districts in navigating reopening decisions during the pandemic. It includes Duke experts across multiple disciplines, including pediatrics, primary care, infectious diseases, new and emerging infectious diseases, epidemiology and critical care.

GCS joins other leading North Carolina school districts, including Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Durham Public Schools, Orange County Schools and the Wake County Public School System as members of the ABC Science Collaborative.

The collaborative meets weekly to analyze the most recent local, state, and national trends surrounding the virus and its transmission. Topics include which safety measures work best in the classroom and in schools, limiting the spread of COVID-19 in schools and the community, data from state and local health departments both in North Carolina and nationally, results from scientific studies on COVID-19, and how to apply this information to the unique context of each local school districts and its community.

“Staying in contact on a regular basis with world-renowned health leaders has strengthened our ability to make safe and informed decisions,” said Superintendent Sharon Contreras. “Our participation in the collaborative benefits the entire Guilford County community.”

With almost 2,000 new scientific articles on COVID-19 published each week, it’s critical to have the latest information to make these important decisions that affect the health of children and their families, Contreras noted. “As new information becomes available, the guidance from local, state and federal officials changes and schools have to pivot accordingly,” said Contreras. “Having this additional level of support helps us make the needed changes more rapidly, and gives us the opportunity to seek guidance from infectious disease specialists who are treating children and adults with COVID-19.”

The collaborative is led by two pediatricians from the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), which is part of the Duke University School of Medicine: Danny Benjamin, MD, PhD, who is a distinguished professor in epidemiology therapeutics, and Kanecia Zimmerman, MD, who is an associate professor in critical care. The board also includes experts from the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and Department of Population Health Sciences.