Week 2 of the Bureau of Legislative Rsearch’s survey for COVID and quarantine rates in school districts with and without mask mandates still seem to trend in favor of mask rules, perhaps more than during Week One.
The survey is not comprehensive. Are non-participants more or less likely to have mask rules? Would that change the overall numbers? We can only speculate.
This is what the Bureau said in distributing these numbers to school districts last week.
Below please find the results to the Week 1 and Week 2 surveys regarding mask mandate policies in school districts and charter school systems that the Bureau of Legislative Research (BLR) conducted for a legislative member.
Week 2 data was collected on Sept. 8 and all findings are statistically significant at the .05 level. Week 2 data is shown in the blue bars in each graph. The BLR received responses from 166 school districts and charter school systems for a response rate of 64%.
Week 1 data was collected on Sept. 1 and all findings are statistically significant at the .05 level except for the average percent of students positive for Covid. Week 1 data is shown in the orange bars in each graph. The response rate was 70% (180 respondents).
In response to suggestions from a number of superintendents, the BLR will collect this data on Fridays beginning next week (Sept. 17) with results emailed to you the following Wednesday.
New Data This Week:
Of the 166 respondents, 91 (55%) were able to provide information regarding students positive for Covid due to inside- or outside-of-school exposure with an average 88% of the students in those school districts/charters school systems currently positive for Covid being reported as outside-of-school cases. Fifty-one, or 31% of respondents, provided the same information regarding employees with an average 84% being reported as outside-of-school cases. No statistically significant difference occurred between schools with or without the full mask mandate.
Ninety respondents (54%) were able to report a number of students who had been quarantined and then tested positive: 385. This represents 7% of the number of students currently quarantined in those school districts/charter school systems. Also of all respondents, 107 (64%) were able to provide the number of quarantined employees who became positive. This number represents 6% of the currently quarantined employees at those school districts/charter school systems.
The Bureau of Legislative Research collected data from school districts and charter school systems on September 1 and September 8 and asked for data specific to those dates.
To perform the analysis, the BLR divided the school districts/charter systems into two groups based on mask policy. One group consisted of those that had full mask mandates in place for at least two weeks; the other contained those with full mask policies for less than two weeks, partial mask policies or no mask policies. The two-week cutoff was used to account for the incubation period for Covid.
The BLR then calculated for each district/charter the following percentages:
- Percent Students Positive for Covid
- Percent Students Quarantined Due to Covid Exposure
- Percent Employees Positive for Covid
- Percent Employees Quarantined Due to Covid Exposure
The BLR then performed an analysis called comparison of the means, which basically looks at the averages of each of the above instances within each group of With Mask Mandate Policy or No Mask Mandate Policy. The results tested each of these for statistical significance at the .05 level, meaning that there would be less than 5% chance that the patterns were random. While this does not prove cause, it does indicate a relationship between the two variables.