Kansas City,
07:25 AM

Kansas City Star: KC area schools say it’s safe to bring younger kids into classrooms. Are they right?

By Lisa Gutierrez

Raymore-Peculiar schools were among the first in the area to reopen this month, and only one group of children got to return to classrooms, five days a week: the grade-schoolers.

Officials in the Cass County district followed the science, which is why, over the coming weeks, in school districts across the metro, the youngest students will be the first to go back into classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accumulating data shows that younger children are not driving the pandemic and are less likely to get infected than older kids, who are believed to transmit COVID-19 like adults.

Districts are making those decisions even as every county in the metro — according to the Mid-America Regional Council — and the city of Kansas City remain in the “red” zone of community infection, based partly on new cases and the percentage of people testing positive.

“What it looks like, so far, from some of the data that has come out from other countries, because they have seen COVID-19 for longer periods of times than we have, is that young children — and when we talk about young children we’re generally talking about children who are less than 10 years of age — that those young children seem to transmit less efficiently than our older adolescents and adults,” said Dr. Jennifer Schuster, an infectious diseases specialist at Children’s Mercy.

“Now, that doesn’t mean that they cannot transmit this virus. … The CDC published the report about a camp in Georgia, where children were unmasked, and they were inside and doing a number of high-risk activities … loud cheering and singing. And we know those things seem to be high-risk for transmitting the virus. And there was a large outbreak at this camp.”

“There are a number of thoughts. One is that children seem to, overall, have more mild symptoms than adults when it comes to this virus. We know this virus is primarily transmitted by droplets, coughing and sneezing."

“So if children have more mild symptoms than adults and are doing less coughing and sneezing, then perhaps that’s one reason that they’re less likely to transmit the virus.”


Read the full story via the Kansas City Star

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