Although a majority of educational institutions across the country were forced to switch to online learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe it’s safe to begin reopening schools for full in-person instruction.

An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Tuesday reveals experts approve of reopening certain schools if restrictions are put in place to lower the spread of COVID-19, ABC 7 reports.

“Committing today to policies that prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission in communities and in schools will help ensure the future social and academic welfare of all students and their education,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers found that wearing masks and social distancing is effective in curbing transmissions, but said that some school activities, like sporting events, would have to be eliminated to stop the spread. Researchers believe it simply isn’t possible to maintain physical distancing in high-contact sports.

In one study conducted by the CDC on 17 K-12 schools in Wood County, Wisconsin, students were given three to five double or triple layer cloth masks and attended class and lunch indoors while often seated next to the same person.

Of the 5,530 students and staff members in the study, researchers found 191 people tested positive for the coronavirus. The positive COVID-19 case rates in the schools were 37% lower than those found in the surrounding community.

“...The preponderance of available evidence from the fall school semester has been reassuring,” the researchers stated in the JAMA paper, adding that "there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.” 

Although CDC experts support the reopening of grade schools, universities haven't received the same stamp of approval, USA Today reports. Researchers found that college students may be at a greater risk of spreading the virus due to outbreaks in college towns. CDC This is an image showing the logo for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Oct. 5, 2014. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images