What is the Data on School Attendance and Positive COVID-19 Results in Children?
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Hobbs et al. (MMWR, 2020) assessed school, community, and close contact exposures associated with pediatric SARS-CoV-2 test positivity
Cases: Positive PCR test
Controls: Negative PCR tests
Guardians/parents provided information on school, community, and close contact exposures
397 children and adolescents
In-person school attendance ≤14 days before SARS-CoV-2 test was not associated with a positive test result
Cases: 62% attended school
Controls: 68% attended school
Adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.8 (95% CI, 0.5 to 1.3)
Children (≥2 years) with a negative test and learning in-person: Parents were more likely to report mask wearing by all school faculty and staff
Cases: 64% staff mask wearing
Controls: 76% staff mask wearing
aOR 0.4 (95% CI, 0.2 to 0.8)
In the 2 weeks preceding SARS-CoV-2 testing, case-patients were more likely to have
Had close contact with a person with known COVID-19
aOR 3.2 (95% CI, 2.0 to 5.0)
Attended gatherings with persons outside their household, including social functions
aOR 2.4 (95% CI, 1.1 to 5.5)
Participated in activities with other children
aOR 3.3 (95% CI, 1.3 to 8.4)
Had visitors in the home
aOR 1.9 (95% CI, 1.2 to 2.9)
Close contacts with persons with confirmed COVID-19 and gatherings contribute to COVID-19 infections in children, but schools do not appear to be strong vectors of transmission
Mask wearing, social distancing, and effective isolation and quarantine continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
The authors conclude
Among participants with close contact with a person with COVID-19, close contacts of case-patients were more likely to be family members and less likely to be school or child care classmates than were those of control participants
Attending in-person school or child care during the 2 weeks before the SARS-CoV-2 test was not associated with increased likelihood of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result
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