Study: No evidence of community spread from schools

Researchers showed that when COVID cases are low, in-person classes don't cause them to go up.

New research from Michigan State University shows there is no evidence in-person classes lead to a rise in community spread of COVID-19. The study stipulates that this is true of communities where infection rates are already relatively low.

The study used infection data from counties in Michigan and Washington. Researchers followed community infection numbers in districts with fully in-person classes and those with hybrid models that included some in-person instruction.

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The conclusion researchers came to is that, on average, in-person classes do not lead to higher infection rates in the surrounding community as long as infection numbers are already low. Once infection numbers in the community go up, the potential for schools causing more community spread also increases.

“When you get to very high rates of COVID-19 spread in the surrounding communities … you do see that it starts to look like there is a positive relationship between being (in school) in-person fully and COVID-19 spread,” said Katharine Strunk, a professor of education policy at MSU, according to an article on MLive.

The positive upshot of this is that if a community is following COVID-19 guidelines – wearing masks, avoiding social gatherings, etc. – districts can probably safely return to in-person classes.

You can read the full report here.

You can read more on MLive.

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