January 14, 2021

COVID-19 incidence, secondary transmission in schools

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study led by researchers from Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, finds that in the first 9 weeks of in-person classes in North Carolina schools, there was extremely limited within-school secondary transmissions of COVID-19.

The researchers examined 11 school districts with more than 90,000 students and staff that were open for in-person instruction for 9 weeks.


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During the 9 weeks, there were 773 community-acquired COVID-19 infections; however, there were only 32 cases of secondary transmission within schools. There were no instances of child-to-adult transmissions found.

Within-school secondary transmission of COVID-19 infections was extremely limited in the first 9 weeks of in-person instruction in North Carolina schools, the researchers conclude. The data support the concept that schools can stay open safely in communities with widespread community transmission, they say.

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