PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Even with schools open for in-person learning, the CDC says cases among younger children remain low.
But to have open schools, community transmission must be under control, the CDC says.
“There is low transmission of the virus within the school itself. It’s more what’s happening in the community. It’s what’s happening after school with the kids getting together, going to each other’s houses,” says Dr. Joe Aracri, a pediatrician at AHN Pediatric Alliance.
The CDC analyzed almost 3 million lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, from newborns to 24-year-olds, between March and December of 2020, and more than half of the cases were in those 18 to 24.
“That is a group that definitely spreads more than the younger group, and again, because of more social contact than actually being in school,” Dr. Aracri says.
Cases among children and teens followed the adult pattern, including spikes in early summer and a sharp increase in the fall.
“The children were following what was happening in the community and the schools being open didn’t increase it,” says Dr. Aracri.
The CDC says reports of school outbreaks were limited. Counties with in-person classes and counties with only remote learning had similar case rates.
In addition, a study published in Pediatrics also shows the source of coronavirus is the community and not the schools.
“Out of 100,000 kids, roughly over 700 kids had COVID, but only 32 passed it among themselves at the school,” Dr. Aracri says.
Even with the low transmission, the CDC report says kids must wear masks at school.
“It’s safe to send your child to school, to not think of that as the hotbed of infection. Schools have put a lot of precautions in place,” says Dr. Aracri. “It is best to keep the kids masked, socially distanced and keep those precautions in place.”
While children seem to be getting coronavirus from their parents and contacts outside of school, Dr. Aracri points out, they generally have a mild illness only.