(from the New York Times) Why is the data about children's' risk of infection, transmission and sickness in schools so hard to discern? One reason is that in March, at the outset of the pandemic, most stricken countries simultaneously closed schools, shuttered businesses and urged people to stay home, making it nearly impossible to separate out the effect of school closures on rates of transmission in the community. None of the studies released thus far directly addresses the impact of reopening schools on the spread of Covid. Large-scale randomized testing and contact tracing over time, which would give a more complete picture of who transmits the virus and how, hasn’t been done yet in schools.
The largest study to date found that children younger than 10 were found to have transmitted the virus much less than did those between 10 and 19, whose transmission rate was equivalent to that of adults. But only 3% of patients in that initial cohort were 19 and younger, and their having been tested probably means they presented symptoms. It’s still unclear how asymptomatic children, who are hard to identify, might spread the virus; it’s also unclear if there are differences in transmission between the ages of 10 and 19. NIH began a study in May, but results will not be available until November, and so will not help with questions of school reopening.
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(from the Washington Post) With some uncertainty, Detroit public schools opened for summer session in mid-July, and thus far have yet to experience a school-related outbreak. Everyone inside the buildings wears masks and children are spaced 6 feet apart. Many teachers remain leery about returning, though 300 signed up to fill 180 summer school positions. Some teachers that were initially excited to return are now less willing as infections in the city are on the rise. The school district also has to contend with protests that sometimes attempt to prevent school buses from picking up children.
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