Aspirus doctor’s study finds low COVID-19 transmission in K-12 schools taking safety measures
CDC published study’s report this week
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN – Aspirus announced on Tuesday, Jan. 26 that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published the report from a study conducted by Dr. Amy Falk that found that among 17 schools in South Wood County, Wis., that implemented measures such as mask wearing to limit the spread of COVID-19, cases among students and teachers who participated in in-person learning remained low, despite high levels of COVID-19 in the surrounding community.
Falk is a pediatrician with Aspirus Doctors Clinic in Wisconsin Rapids.
According to a release from Aspirus, during Sept. 2020 to Nov. 2020, COVID-19 cases and compliance with mask use were investigated in 4,876 students and 654 staff in 17 K-12 schools in South Wood County, Wis. Schools opened and implemented measures to limit the spread, including wearing masks, establishing groups of 11 to 20 students, quarantining after exposures, and staff maintaining six feet of distance, if possible. Investigators found that teachers reported more than 92 percent of students used masks.
During 13 weeks of in-person learning, seven students and zero staff were known to get COVID-19 at school.
“This report suggests even with high community levels (7-40 percent positive tests) of the virus that causes COVID-19, K-12 schools can limit in-school spread by implementing preventive measures,” Aspirus said.
“In a setting of widespread community transmission, few instances of in-school transmission were identified, with limited spread among children within their cohorts and no documented transmission to or from staff,” Aspirus said in a release. “Even in communities with high rates of disease, schools can implement preventive measures to limit spread and reopen safely for in-person instruction.”
“This data indicates that with important safety measures like universal masking, transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in schools appears very low,” Falk stated. “Allowing for in-person education is so important to our youth, especially during these difficult times.”