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Studying COVID-19 hospitalization rate may be the best evidence for reopening schools



Students go to school in Pennsylvania and take safety precautions. A new study on hospitalization rates in counties where schools have reopened suggests that face-to-face learning may be safer than previously thought.
A new study on hospitalization rates in counties where schools have reopened suggests that face-to-face learning may be safer than previously thought. Here, students go to school in Pennsylvania and take safety precautions. (Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

A new study found that in most (but not all) U.S. counties, the hospitalization rate of people diagnosed with COVID-19 did not increase when schools reopened, indicating that more K-12 schools were restored Face-to-face learning is safe.

In this study, the researchers focused on the hospitalization rate from January 2020 to the end of October 2020 (before the more contagious new strain of COVID-19 was identified in the United States), not the positive rate. It is a more reliable indicator of negative health outcomes. Prior to the reopening of schools, the total number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations was lower than in counties where about 36 to 44 hospitalizations per 100,000 people per week. The study authors wrote that they found that “face-to-face reopening did not affect the price of COVID-19 hospitalization.”

In the county higher The researchers found that before the school reopened, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 (36 to 44 hospitalizations per 100,000 people per week), the researchers found inconsistencies-some data showed that after the school reopened, COVD- 19 has a higher hospitalization rate, while other data are the opposite. Think it is “inconclusive.”

The authors of the study wrote that opening schools in high COVID-19 areas is a compromise, that is, doing so may spread the virus, but they point out that “school-age children seem unlikely to spread” or “suffer from mortality”. Torture” comes from the virus.

Research points out that the risk of COVID-19 spread among college students is higher than that in K-12, which may be a reason to keep college campuses vacant.
Research points out that the risk of COVID-19 spread among college students is higher than that in K-12, which may be a reason to keep college campuses vacant. (Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

They also emphasized that returning to school may “improve other health conditions of students and their families in other ways,” including mental health and physical abuse (the teacher is more likely to be the person reporting child abuse).

Although the study authors called the closure of sports schools a “reasonable response to an uncertain and unstable pandemic,” they wrote that this decision exacerbated “short-term and long-term social and economic crises.” They pointed out that distance learning “forces many parents to leave the workplace or work from home, while also supporting their children’s learning.”

The lead author of the study, Douglas Harris, professor and chair of the Department of Economics at Tulane University, told Yahoo Life: “We are now aware of the academic consequences, but so are the health consequences.” May suffer from mental illness, abuse and malnutrition. The health consequences of closing schools need to be weighed against the consequences of COVID that may spread when schools are opened in person.”

The study author also distinguished between K-12 schools and universities. They pointed out that universities “can easily spread the virus, especially in residential schools, where students come from far away and live in dormitories or other collective housing.”

They added: “Students are likely to bring the virus to their campus, spread the virus in the dormitory and social environment, and then take the virus home during breaks and vacations. Many studies have shown that adults in college and living Among the general population near universities, the positive rate of COVID-19 has increased.”

Distance learning
Distance learning “forces many parents to leave work or work at home, while also supporting their children’s learning.” Here, 11-year-old twins are seen participating in distance learning in Boston. Getty Images)

Harris told Yahoo Life, “Compared with residential colleges where students live, the reopening of face-to-face K-12 schools is “very safe”.

Harris added: “Young people in the school seem to be less sensitive to this virus. They eventually return to their houses and apartments within a day.” “But college students live in dormitories, and the spread of the virus there is difficult to stop. , The indirect impact of closing schools is even worse: young people in universities can learn more remotely than young children, and remote learning does not require parents to reduce their working hours like in K-12 schools.”

Dr. Ashish K. Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health and former Director of Harvard Institute of Global Health, told reporters Ed Zhou In November 2020, some school districts were “too cautious” due to suspension of classes. “There is no doubt that I think schools need to be bolder than they are now. Children’s mental health costs are high. We know that this will greatly widen the achievement gap between rich/white students and poorer/color students. This effect will continue. a long time.”

Jia (Jha) added: “You always have to weigh these very large costs against the cost of returning to face-to-face education. Obviously, if returning to face-to-face education will cause many infections and deaths, then you would say, ok, this is A price we cannot afford. However, overly cautious areas are causing great harm to children and families in the community.”

Dr. Grace Lee, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University who specializes in infectious diseases, told Yahoo Life that appropriate precautions can be taken to safely reopen the school to protect students and teachers. Lee said: “This is all about reducing risk.” “We need multiple layers of protection. None of them are perfect, but if we stack them, we can ensure the safety of children and teachers. This means vaccinations, Masking, social distancing, queues/bubbles, environmental/engineering control, hand hygiene, testing, contact tracing, etc. The difficulty is that most interventions rely on behavior and always require a high degree of persistence. Difficult to do. About vaccines The advantage is that it has two doses and 95% protection. Therefore, this is an easy-to-implement protective layer.”

Harris told Yahoo Life that the study provided “important new evidence about public health consequences” for reopening schools, “showing that it is still safe in most counties, but it is still safe in other counties. No.” Harris hopes that the report will “help our leaders weigh the trade-offs more clearly”, adding: “There is no’risk-free’ or perfect choice. In this difficult situation, we must do our best. “

in order to The latest coronavirus news and updates,follow https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and people with weakened immune systems are still the greatest risk.If in doubt, please refer to CDCwith Who is Resource guide.

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