The risk of spreading COVID-19 in schools appears to be low as long as protocols such as face masks, social distancing and hand-washing are strictly followed, a new study finds.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University studied 11 North Carolina school systems that kept schools open for at least nine weeks with students attending in-person classes twice a week and schools at partial capacity. That’s the model that the Caldwell County Schools currently follows.
The researchers reported on their findings in this week’s edition of Pediatrics, the journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics.
The schools in the study reported a total of 773 community-acquired infections among their nearly 100,000 students and staff. That normally could be expected to translate into 800 to 900 new infections acquired at schools, but the researchers found just 32 cases.
Other practices that appeared to have benefits included daily health screenings, efficient contact tracing and close collaboration with health departments, the researchers said.