The masks, the social distancing, the stick-up-the-nose testing: Those unpleasant coronavirus-controlling measures are far from over for K-12 kids returning to in-school learning after summer vacation ends.
It’s unlikely that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available for children under 12 before classes resume in the fall. But a new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine has found that when elementary-school children mask up and maintain some distance from one another over the course of the school day, a single infected child will likely pass the infection to fewer than one other student, on average, over the course of 30 days.
But if schools ditch the masks, abandon efforts to reduce mixing among children, and fail to detect and isolate those who may be infected, outbreaks can certainly happen, a modeling exercise shows.
Those outbreaks won’t necessarily be large, however, and that leaves local school boards and mayors with difficult choices.