Researchers also said that a BLANKET policy that allows entire elementary school class’ bladders’ to self-isolate if a child tests positive for Covid is too stringent and not based on facts.
They cautioned that if anything is not done to resolve differences in transmission risk between young children compared with older children, elementary school children “will suffer disproportionate harm”
Sanjay Patel, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist in Southampton, has worked in many European countries with colleagues in Spain, France, and Belgium to test approaches.
They define a “worrying picture” of “wide variation in recommendations across Europe.” written today in the journal BMJ, Archives of Disease in Childhood.
They write, “If they [the recommendations]were evidence-based, there would be relatively little variation in practice between European countries, although factors such as population density and rates of SARS-CoV-2 prevalence might justify some variation.”
The primary source of Covid transmission is households
In the event of a positive situation, the obligation to separate whole class bubbles occurs in the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany, but not in Holland or Sweden.
This is only activated in France if there are three or more positive cases between classmates, and in Belgium if there are two or more.
A child who exhibits potential covid symptoms in the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands must be isolated in his or her household while awaiting test results, which is not the case in Belgium, France, Germany, and Sweden.
Laws also differ with regard to face masks, which are not recommended in Holland or Sweden for teachers.
The researchers studied the method in schools in many European countries.
In Scotland, face masks are compulsory for teachers and students in grades S4 to S6 in areas with level three or four restraints in classrooms and common areas, such as hallways.
Data suggests that younger kids are much less likely to catch the virus or pass it on.
There were 352 covid cases among children between the ages of five and 13 and 237 among those between the ages of 14 and 17 during the week ending Nov. 22.
In secondary schools, the explanation for “cautious approach”
For reasons associated with Covid, 26,182 students were absent from school on Nov. 26, although the number had previously been more than 33,000.
The researchers said that “evidence-based recommendations for elementary schools” should be a priority “to prevent young children from unnecessarily missing significant amounts of school this winter.”
They add, “There is not only a wide variation in recommendations across Europe, but surprisingly few countries have implemented an approach that encourages the local prevalence of upscaling or downscaling their elementary school recommendations.”
“Furthermore, none of these countries propose different interventions for elementary school compared with secondary schools, except for the use of face coverings and approaches to contact tracing.”
They remember that young children often get respiratory infections, eight per year in preschool and four per year in elementary school, on average.
If assessments are difficult to access or sluggish, young kids will inevitably lose a large amount of education this winter, they write.
Furthermore, the suggestion to separate the whole family of a symptomatic child in some countries while waiting for test results would restrict the ability of parents to function and the right of siblings to attend school….
The default position for elementary schools should be to adopt less stringent criteria for infection prevention that do not require young children to wear face covers, do not isolate entire bladders after a single event, and do not require the whole family to be isolated while awaiting the test results of the infant.’
Where did anything go wrong? Data suggest the errors that contributed to the lockdown
The researchers call for, once validated, rapid Covid saliva tests to be “prioritized for use in schools to minimize disruption of instruction.”
Covid vaccinations should also give priority to teachers and children who live “with extremely high-risk relatives in their household.” before elementary school children.
Measures in this higher risk category may be personalized to students, such as recommendations to wear face coverings in community environments, isolation in the case of po po