In the classroom of 22 students, 12 became infected — including eight out of 10 students in the two front rows. And that’s despite layers of measures intended to prevent transmission of the virus.
“The school required teachers and students to mask while indoors; interviews with parents of infected students suggested that students’ adherence to masking and distancing guidelines in line with CDC recommendations was high in class. However, the teacher was reportedly unmasked on occasions when reading aloud in class,” the report read. The CDC highlighted the case as an example of how schools need to follow all recommendations if they want to protect students and staff.
Eventually, 27 people, including the teacher, were infected. None were seriously ill and all recovered. Those cases that were analyzed involved the Delta variant of coronavirus, although the researchers said they were not necessarily able to test everyone who may have been infected in the outbreak. “The introduction of the virus into the classroom by a teacher who worked in school, while she was both symptomatic and unvaccinated and who was unmasked when reading aloud to a class, resulted in cases within the classroom, across the school and among families of students and staff in the community,” Walensky told a White House Covid-19 briefing Friday.
It wasn’t enough to protect the kids. “Throughout this period, all desks were separated by six feet,” it added. “All classrooms had portable high-efficiency particulate air filters and doors and windows were left open.”
The CDC’s guidance for schools lists vaccination as the No. 1 way to protect everyone. “Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports,” it says. “We know how to protect our kids in school. We have the tools.”
Dr. Lisa Santora, deputy health officer for the county, said officials there had been urging teachers to be vaccinated since January, but many had not done it. “We saw firsthand that it wasn’t kids who were going to get teachers sick. It was going to be the reverse,” Santora told CNN. Santora said Marin County had organized “Super Saturday” events to encourage teachers and staff to get vaccinated, but some teachers still remain unvaccinated. “Adults are underestimating their risk of hospitalization when they are choosing not to get vaccinated,” she told CNN. Kids under 12 are not eligible for vaccination, and the CDC says it’s important for the adults around them to get vaccinated to protect them.
News Highlights Health
- An unvaccinated and unmasked teacher infected more than half of students in class with Covid-19, CDC reports
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