Schools or ‘Superspreaders’ of COVID-19?
Schools can become the “super-spreader” of coronavirus since there are rising confirmed COVID-19 cases among children. Schools need to adopt preventive measures like physical distancing, masks, ventilation, and staggered class schedules. Moreover, the location of the school also matters.
Since various schools are reopening, the risk factor increases, especially in states where the cases are rapidly growing. If masking and distancing regulations are not in place, the infection will keep passing quickly, and there might arise a situation where schools are entirely shut.
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association reported over 97000 positive COVID-19 cases in July. Moreover, the cases in children have doubled in Florida.
Schools being an indoor setting where many people congregate, people shout, and there are increased chances of close contact. Due to similar conditions, casinos, political conventions, and offices have been shut down. The scenario is the same for children wherein this contagious disease can infect the entire classroom. If safety measures are not in place, several people can get infected.
Safety measures can prevent spreading
Wearing masks, ensuring social distancing alongside reduced class-size can help a lot. Planning carefully and paying attention to detail is mandatory. All the students, faculty, and staff should wear masks throughout the day in school. Moreover, it is best not to allow eating in groups. Maintaining physical distancing in classrooms and hallways ensures that those who are ill stay at home help. Sentinel testing is the best for those who can afford it. The class capacity should be reduced, and schools also need to tackle the issue of ventilation.
Advanced planning is significant for reopening schools. The authorities need to avoid situations where over a hundred students are packed in a hallway and how to change classes or carry the procedure safely.
The location makes a difference
The location of the school and the rate of spread in the community makes a huge difference! Moreover, if a COVID-positive child turns up on the first day of school, the spread will eventually be visible. However, it might take time to be revealed as many wouldn’t even show symptoms. It is best to postpone reopening of schools in states like Alabama and watch the scenario where cases are under control like Georgia. Assessing the level of risk and highly advanced planning is essential before deciding to reopen.
Schools can become super-spreaders
If the authorities do not plan well and reopen schools, it could be the site of super-spreading. Moreover, the concern is mainly for older individuals who would be at the infected child’s home. The reach of the spread will be vast, and there is an immense risk. There have been cases where the student did not wear masks outside, and over 200 students got infected. Therefore, in places where the risk is exceptionally high, postponing the reopening will be best. For those who decide to reopen, significant safety precautions can only save the super-spreading.
Areas, where schools have not reopened are at an advantage. However, strict regulations and practicing safety measures alongside appropriate testing and treatments can reduce cases, making the community safer for reopening schools.