· Potential impact on reproductive rate (R) of the seven “returning to school” scenarios that were modeled by SAGE exhibited an increase in R due to reopening of school. The scale of increase depended on current value of R within each community and mitigation plans within the community, especially the adherence to social distancing measures. · CDC recommended using additional indicators such as healthcare capacity, new cases, and percent of positive cases to decide school operations along with community spread levels: none-to-minimal, minimal-to-moderate, substantial-controlled, and substantial-uncontrolled. · Combination of strategies such as mask usage, physical distancing, hygiene measures, classroom cohorting, symptomatic screening, testing and tracing of students, staff and teachers along with low levels of community transmission can aid in maintaining low level of R. · Increasing testing and contract tracing can impede an epidemic rebound. · Intersectoral partnerships with local authorities, dedicated personnel (such as coordinators) for testing and tracing along with appropriate communication with parents, teachers and staff should be followed to open schools safely.
Pisolkar, V; McRae, D; Muhajarine, N; Dalidowicz, M; Ellsworth, C. What COVID community transmission indicators are used in school reopening plans? 2020 Aug 26; Document no.: EOC081201 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 23 p. (CEST rapid review report)
A number of jurisdictions have re-opened schools successfully without a spike in COVID-19 cases, eg. Japan, Germany, France, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Norway
Most school plans indicate that staff/students/visitors who are sick or have had exposure to COVID-19 in the past 14 days should not attend school, and those that become symptomatic at school should be isolated and removed from the premises as soon as possible, with thorough cleaning thereafter
In Alberta, if two or more members of a cohort are found to be COVID-19 positive, schools should follow the outbreak procedures which are under review until September
In Nova Scotia, one confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school would be considered an outbreak
In Germany, classmates and teachers of an infected student are sent home for two weeks but other classes continue
Taiwan (based on the H1N1 response) suspends the class which had a confirmed case identified, for 14 days. With two or more cases the whole school must close. When 1/3 of the schools in a district are closed, all schools in the district must close.
In Israel, schools closed after a single case was identified , and following mass outbreaks in schools at least 355 schools had closed with over 2,026 students and staff testing positive and over 28,000 students in quarantine due to possible exposure
Badea, A; Muhajarine, N; Reeder, B; Miller, L; Mueller, M. What is the evidence and rationale describing the key public health principles to consider for school re-openings and precautions regarding school closures during COVID-19? 2020 Aug 17; Document no.: EOC070901 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 22 p. (CEST rapid review report)