By: D. Kennedy
Many school districts across the country have already started mandating online learning for students in fear that congregating students would further spread COVID-19. A recent study in Germany, however, has concluded that the transmission of COVID-19 among younger people is rare.
The Medical Faculty of the TU Dresden and University Hospital Carl Gustav Caru has found that schools do not become virus hotspots once they reopen. The dynamics of virus spreading has been extremely overestimated.
The results showed that out of 2,045 blood samples collected from students and teachers from across 13 secondary schools (in Saxony) only 12 samples were found to contain antibodies against COVID-19. The tests were carried out in several schools where there had been known outbreaks. 24 of the participants in this study had at least one confirmed coronavirus case in their household, though the study noted that only one of those 24 participants was found to have antibodies.
All of this suggests that schools and young people do not play as big a role in transmission as previously feared. It is the largest study in Germany to date and was carried out after the country reopened schools after lockdown, to aim and assess how students and teachers carry antibodies against the virus over time.
The numbers provide the current immunity status of these teachers and students and provide important clues as to how schools can continue to operate.
“Children act more as a brake on infection. Not every infection that reaches them is passed on,” Prof Reinhard Berner said. He is the head of pediatric medicine at Dresden University Hospital and a leader of the study that claims the opposition that schools are super-spreaders of the virus.
While medical experts try to understand the transmission dynamics between children and adults, they are learning that they do not have enough evidence to prove that children contribute to virus outbreaks. The World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, has suggested that children are less capable of spreading the disease and that there has been no evidence of secondary transmission of COVID-19 from children attending school.
Yet, a small number of Americans, just 19% according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, want to see schools fully reopen for fall sessions. The worry from the public has ultimately outweighed the consequences of keeping schools closed and that is not good. While many schools have adopted a patchwork of approaches to deal with new school years, many plan to remain entirely remote.
40% of Republicans want to fully reopen schools, compared to just 6% of Democrats. “The restrictions, especially in my state of New Mexico, are overblown and have been exercised for the political gain of our leftist governor,” wrote one Republican surveyed, who hoped to send his children back to school in-person this fall. “She will do irreparable damage to our kids’ education by bowing to the whims of the teacher unions whom she relies upon for political support.”
Kari Stefansson, a leading researcher in Iceland, has also tested 56,000 residents in Iceland and only found two examples where a child infected a parent. Liberals don’t want the schools to reopen so that they can keep using their children’s funds to play politics.
Hawaii public school families can expect to continue some distance learning through the end of the calendar year, the school superintendent said at a news conference. They will be transitioning back to a blended learning model over the second quarter (ending Dec 18). Hawaii will not look at returning to full instruction until after winter break.
We need to foster growth and learning more than ever.