With a little over a month until school starts, the Monroe County Community School Corporation has released a tentative plan for getting kids back to school. Parents will be able to choose between in-person or online education.
When the Corporation surveyed parents’ thoughts, about 30 percent of respondents said they would consider keeping their students at home to learn online because of the coronavirus.
Elliot Haspel, an education policy expert and program officer for the Robins Foundation in Richmond, Va. says data from around the world seem to show that students 12 and under at schools that have opened are not spreading coronavirus.
“All the evidence points to the fact that they're probably going to be just fine,” he said. “They're probably not going to get it if they do have a very mild and if they did happen to catch it, the chances of them sent bringing it back home are actually quite low.”
The CDC reports since Feb. 1, 28 children 14 and under have died of coronavirus in the U.S.
A French study released this week by the Pasteur Institute determined children have not been spreading the virus: Of 510 students studied at six different primary schools, just three probable cases of COVID-19 were reported. Data from Denmark, Finland and Australia have come to similar conclusions.
At this point, 22 of the European nations have been back in school for enough weeks that we would have seen cases start to spike,” Haspel said.
Haspel notes that the science on the virus is far from settled, but the available data point to young children not spreading COVID-19 at school.
Ana Bento, IU professor of public health and biology, says the studies are encouraging, but limited.
“This is incredibly encouraging, but we cannot say for sure at all because the schools were the first thing to close at the beginning of the epidemic,” she said. “So the possibility of transmission between children was incredibly curbed. The studies are very encouraging but too limited to make broad assumptions about how infectious children are.”