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Report: Schools taking safety measures are not spreading Covid-19

The Davis School District has released more details in their plan to have students and staff return to the classroom this fall. (Davis School District)

SALT LAKE CITY — Reporting from the New York Times suggests that schools are safer right now than previously thought, and that those schools taking preventative measures aren’t spreading COVID-19.

Data from around the nation shows schools are not super-spreaders of COVID-19 if they have safety measures in place and are adhering to them.

The New York Times says there are remarkably few infections among young children and limited transmission from children to adults.  

“The more and more data that I see, the more comfortable I am that children are not, in fact, driving transmission, especially in school settings,” said Brooke Nichols, an infectious disease modeler at the Boston University School of Public Health in the Times report.

That’s leading more scientists and pediatricians to say schools should be open with safety measures. Those include masks, social or physical distancing and improved ventilation.

University of Pennsylvania pediatrician and infectious disease expert Dr. David Rubin said elementary schools at least should offer in-person learning. Especially when “weighed against the substantial harms to children and parents from keeping schools closed.”

They say if community prevalence is high, adult gatherings should be limited or closed before schools. Especially indoor places like bars, casinos, restaurants or gyms where people stay close together for long periods of time.

When cases do show up in school, they seem to come from other activities or unregulated gatherings where teens or families are not wearing masks and distancing themselves.

What do Utahns think?

According to a new poll from the Deseret News, the majority of Utahns believe schools are safe.

The Deseret News and Hinckley Institute of Politics poll showed 53% of Utahns believe it is safe for students to return to in-person learning, up from 51% in September.

When you look solely at parents of school-age students, it was 66%, up from 61% in the September poll.

Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States