COVID-19 in Children and the Role of School Settings in Transmission. Second Update. July 8, 2021.
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
International Resource Technical Report
Published: July 08, 2021
This report updates the knowledge surrounding the role of children in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the role of schools in the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing in particular on the experience in European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries since the beginning of the pandemic. It draws upon and updates evidence presented in the previous reports from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), published in August 2020 and December 2020. The report begins with background information on SARS-CoV-2 and describes the methodological approach used for the study. Findings are discussed and indicate: increased transmissibility across all age groups has been reported for SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs), and it may be anticipated increasingly greater proportions of reported SARS-CoV-2 cases will be among children who are not vaccinated; children of all ages are susceptible to and can transmit SARS-CoV-2; children aged between 1-18 years have much lower rates of hospitalization, severe disease requiring intensive hospital care, and death than all other age groups; the general consensus remains that the decision to close schools to control the COVID-19 pandemic should be used as a last resort; in light of circulating SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, combinations of non-pharmaceutical interventions in the form of physical distancing that prevent crowding as well as hygiene and other measures to reduce transmission risks will continue to be essential to prevent transmission in school settings; it is important that testing strategies for educational settings aiming at timely testing of symptomatic cases are established; and while a measure of last resort, school closures can contribute to a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but are by themselves insufficient to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 in the absence of other nonpharmaceutical interventions and the expansion of vaccination coverage. 189 references.
COVID-19; child health; SCHOOLS; SCHOOL CHILDREN; PRESCHOOL CHILDREN; PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS; SCHOOL LINKED SERVICES; DISASTER RESPONSE; OUTCOMES; DATA ANALYSIS