The CDC is using a COVID-19 case tracking website created by a Brown University economics professor to argue to reopen schools, a CDC spokesperson told CNN. The Covid-19 School Response Dashboard, compiled by Emily Oster, is one of few sites compiling infection data in schools. But its data may be misleading, Oster said, as students are not regularly tested. “It is totally bananas,” she told CNN. “I think we are doing as good a job as we can. This is not my field. It’s crazy.” Oster, who indeed does not have a background in epidemiology or public health, nonetheless has been a public advocate for reopening schools, writing an article in The Atlantic last month titled “Schools Aren’t Super Spreaders.”
In October, The American Prospect reported that Oster’s data set may be misrepresentative, as only a small fraction of school districts and public schools are voluntarily reporting infection data. “No one is collecting systematic data and it seems like a tremendous oversight,” she said.