HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-SCHOOLS: Coronavirus: No clear link between reopening of schools and increase in cases, according to a study
LONDON (Reuters) – The widespread reopening of schools across the world is generally not the cause of the rise in coronavirus infection rates, according to a study based on data from 191 countries released on Thursday .
The independent foundation Insights for Education (IfE), based in Geneva, on the other hand estimates that the closures of schools decided within the framework of the confinements would leave a “teaching deficit” equivalent to 300 billion days of study, with an impact more important for children in poor countries.
“It has been speculated that reopening schools will cause infections, and closing schools will reduce transmissions, but the reality is much more complex,” said IfE founder and director Randa Grob-Zakhary.
According to the study, infection rates in 52 countries – including France and Spain – increased during the summer holidays compared to when schools were closed.
In Britain and Hungary, however, the spread of the coronavirus declined after the initial school closings, remained stable during the summer holidays and began to increase after the start of the school year.
Comprehensive analysis of data in these 52 countries failed to find a clear link between school status and new infections, indicating the need to look at other factors, says IfE.
Several countries have implemented specific strategies for schools in this period of health crisis. France and Italy, for example, have chosen to temporarily close establishments on a case-by-case basis. Other measures concern the wearing of a mask, staff rotations or alternating between classroom and distance courses.
(Kate Kelland; French version Jean Terzian)