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Cohorting Messaging

Drop-in Communications About Cohorting

The following language can be used as is or tailored for your specific audiences.

For Educators

One of the most effective ways of limiting the spread of the Coronavirus in schools is by grouping students and staff into cohorts - which is a smaller group of students and adults that stay together throughout the course of their learning. Cohorts can reduce the number of people exposed to COVID-19 if someone tests positive, meaning fewer students and staff would need to be quarantined for 14 days if there is a positive case.

Class guidance and cohorting guidance will vary with phase and grade level. For example, during the Safer at Home phase, in elementary schools, a cohort could mean up to four teachers may rotate into one specific classroom  of students per day, including at lunch. But in middle school, up to three teachers could rotate into one specific classroom per day. In high school, there is not a set number of teachers who may rotate into the classroom to teach the cohort; however, high schools should create a schedule with the least amount of teachers rotating into a high school classroom cohort.  

Cohort size is dictated by classroom size and available space. Schools should determine the appropriate gathering size while working towards 6-foot distancing in a classroom for secondary students. The classroom cohort should remain together and not intermingle with other cohorts. Only staff may alternate during the day between two “partner cohorts” during the Safer at Home phase.


For Parents

A proven effective strategy to limit the spread of an infectious disease in schools is through cohorting - keeping a group of students together throughout the course of their learning. What this means is during the in-person school days, many students will remain with the same  cohort of students and staff throughout the day to minimize the risk. 

Cohorting significantly reduces the number of students and staff who would need to be quarantined in the event of a COVID-19 case in the school. For example, in a more traditional schedule format, a student may have exposure to more than 100 people on any given day. However, that number of potential exposures is significantly reduced when students are cohorted. 

For example, during the Safer at Home phase, in elementary schools, a cohort could mean up to 4 teachers may rotate into one specific classroom group of students per day,, including at lunch. But in middle school, up to 3 teachers should rotate into one specific classroom per day. In high school, there is not a set number of teachers who may rotate into the classroom to teach the cohort; however, high schools should create a schedule with the least amount of teachers rotating into a high school classroom cohort.  Cohort size is dictated by classroom size and available space. Schools should determine the appropriate gathering size while working towards 6-foot distancing in a classroom for secondary students. The classroom cohort should remain together and not intermingle with other cohorts. Only staff may alternate during the day between two “partner cohorts” during the Safer at Home phase.