Study finds benefits of in-person classes outweigh risks of COVID for children

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A new study has examined the spread of COVID-19 in schools and found that children can stay in class safely with the right mitigation measures.

Why is this important: The toll of the loss of learning due to the pandemic has been enormous.

  • With vaccines now approved for almost everyone over 4 – and clear evidence that the spread can be controlled in schools – classes should be able to stay open.

What is happening: In a published point of view in Science British researchers on Thursday examined studies from around the world on the impact of COVID-19 on children and the extent of its spread in classrooms.

  • The researchers noted that initial research found that children “made up only a tiny fraction of the total cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 and invariably developed mild, transient and self-limiting illnesses.”
  • Additional research found that children were as likely to be infected as adults but less likely to transmit, and studies of schools that have reopened with mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing have found that epidemics were limited to both classrooms and the wider community.

What they say : “While school closures may help reduce transmission, they alone would not be sufficient to prevent community transmission and, therefore, the benefits of in-person schooling outweigh the risks,” wrote the researchers.

In numbers : A McKinsey July Analysis found that the pandemic was leaving students an average of five months behind in math and four months behind in reading by the end of the 2020-21 school year, with more severe effects on students in predominantly black schools .

  • Schools in the United States are still closing due to COVID-19 outbreaks, although the number of closures has fell through the fall, and the launch this week of vaccinations for 5 to 12 year olds should provide additional protection.
  • In the Washington, DC, metropolitan area more … than 10,000 of Prince George County’s 130,000 students are always in virtual classes, in large part because of parental anxiety.

What to watch … the adoption of vaccines for children, and if more school districts adopt test measures to stay minimize quarantines for exposed children.

  • Only four of the 200 largest school districts are currently using the test to stay.


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