SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Encouraging news came today for parents, teachers, and students desperate to return to the classroom.

Data now shows a way forward to return to in-person learning in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is the conclusion reached by researchers the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who published their opinion Tuesday in the Journal of American Medical Association. 

The accumulation of data was collected from international schools as well as schools in the United States.

“Kids are not the primary drivers of COVID. In fact, they’re really underrepresented in infection rates and certainly mortality rates,” Dr. Jeanne Noble said.

The Director of UCSF COVID response Dr. Jeanne Noble describes the results collected in 2020 from eleven fully opened school districts in North Carolina.

“They followed 100,000 students and teachers. 90,000 students and 10,000 teachers over 9 weeks. In that period of time, even though their community prevalence was double to triple our purple tier community prevalence, they had 32 campus-based infections over those 9 weeks.”

The CDC report shows during that same time frame there were 773 community-acquired COVID-19 infections, but no cases of student-to-staff transmission.

“So those are incredibly reassuring numbers,” Dr. Jeanne Noble added.

The CDC report also found that some school-related activities connected to team sport practices and competition increased the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among students

“School openings can’t be done in a willy-nilly fashion. Universal masking is an absolute requirement. Students and faculty, students and teachers, have to mask. They have to maintain adequate social distancing. Those are the key interventions to keeping everyone safe and, testing should be used to make sure schools are doing it right.”

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