UMMC Study Says School isn’t the Problem in Student Covid-19 Cases

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A classroom at Harmony Public Schools (KXAN Photo)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A study led by UMMC finds children are more at risk from getting covid-19 from a holiday party or family gathering than they are from being in the classroom or childcare.

Dr. Charlotte Hobbs, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at UMMC, is lead author on the study’s findings. 

She says nearly 400 children took part in the study. All under the age of 18, and were tested for the coronavirus from September 1st through November 5th. 

All the children had their parents permission.  They were asked a list of questions to see which factors more commonly associated with children testing positive compared to those that tested negative. 

“Our main findings were that in-person childcare or school attendance in the two weeks preceding the test for COVID-19 was not associated with being infected,” Hobbs said. “Also, children who were infected were more likely to have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and that contact was most commonly a family member, so household contacts versus a contact at school appeared to be more important in a child’s risk for being infected.” 

Dr. Hobbs adds that their findings shows that with kids who tested positive, their parents were more likely to report that their child or people at school were not strictly observing CDC recommendations for the reduction of transmission measures. 

Hobbs noted that parents or guardians of children who were infected were less likely to report wearing masks at these gatherings than faculty and staff in a school or childcare setting

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available, now is not the time for parents, families and schools and childcare centers to let down their guard, Hobbs said. “And we need to remember that the available vaccine is only approved for those 16 and older.” 

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