CDC study shows how an unvaccinated school teacher infected pupils

‘In addition to vaccination for eligible persons, strict adherence to non pharmaceutical prevention strategies, including masking, routine testing, facility ventilation, and staying home when symptomatic, are important to ensure safe in-person learning in schools,’ reads CDC report

Clara Hill
Saturday 28 August 2021 19:28
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Fauci says new aim is to get Covid under control by spring

An unvaccinated teacher in California spread the Delta variant of Covid-19 to half of her students, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The teacher, who worked in Marin County, attended and taught lessons for two days while displaying symptoms of the virus. An analysis by the CDC found that pupils nearest to the teacher proved to be the most likely infected. In total, 26 people caught the virus.

The study comes amid fierce debate over the use of masks in classrooms and public health measures in schools.

“In addition to vaccination for eligible persons, strict adherence to non pharmaceutical prevention strategies, including masking, routine testing, facility ventilation, and staying home when symptomatic, are important to ensure safe in-person learning in schools,” the report recommended.

The director of the CDC, Dr Rochelle Wolensky, echoed similar sentiments on 27 August at a press briefing.

“Evidence has repeatedly demonstrated that multi-layer prevention strategies, such as vaccination for all children and adults who are eligible; masks for all students, teachers, staff, and visitors; ventilation; cohorting; physical distancing; and screen testing, work to prevent the spread of Covid in schools.”

Some areas, such as New York City, have already introduced vaccine and mask mandates to schools. In Florida, the state’s governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning local mask mandates, only for a judge to overrule it.

Due to their age, the students cited in the study were unable to be vaccinated against covid, which has some scientists emphasising the need for masks and vaccines in classrooms. According to the study, the teacher was neither vaccinated nor wearing a mask, despite the school’s requirement to do so.

“The most important thing we can do to protect school children, particularly those too young to be vaccinated, is to make sure the adults in their lives, including teachers and school staff, are vaccinated,” Jennifer Nuzzo, a John Hopkins University epidemiologist told the New York Times, responding to the study.

The high level of vaccination in Marin County is thought to have decreased the threat of the spread coming from the classroom. In addition to this report, the CDC published two other reports about covid.

One found that schools in Los Angeles County had potentially reduced school spread to lower levels than in the wider community. They adopted many of the safety measures implored by Dr Wolensky, such as masks and physical distancing.

The other study discovered that only 32 per cent of teenagers between 12 and 17 had been fully vaccinated. However, just like with over 18s, rates of vaccinations varied from state to state. Vermont was the state with the highest level of teenagers vaccine and Mississippi had the lowest rate of teenagers vaccinated.

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