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Coronavirus Disease 2019 Cluster Originating in a Primary School Teachers’ Room in Japan
39 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021More...
Background: School closures are a subject of debate during the present coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because children are not the main driver of COVID-19 transmission in the community, school education must be prioritized in conjunction with appropriate infection prevention and control measures, as determined by local COVID-19 incidence.
Methods: We investigated causes and transmission routes of a primary school cluster of COVID-19 that occurred during November and December 2020 in Niigata, Japan.
Findings: In the cluster, the virus spread among teachers, then from teachers to students, and then to their family members. This primary school cluster comprised 26 infected patients and included teachers (13/33, 39%), students (9/211, 4%), and family members (4/65, 6%). The secondary attack rate from the three index teachers to the remaining 30 teachers was 33%; however, the rate to students was only 4%. Factors contributing to cluster formation include the fact that two of the index teachers continued working while symptomatic and that the environment and infection prevention measures in the teachers’ room were inadequate.
Interpretation: To open schools safely and without interruption, adequate measures to prevent COVID-19 infection in schools should be emphasized not only for children but also for teachers and their work environment.
Funding Information: Health and Labour Sciences Research Grants (20CA2035).
Declaration of Interests: The authors have no competing interests to declare.
Ethics Approval Statement: Because COVID-19 is designated as an infectious disease by the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases Act, investigations of outbreaks and contact tracing are led by the public health service of health centres, under the authority of the Department of Health and Welfare, Niigata Prefectural Office. We used anonymous and public data; thus, the requirement for informed consent was waived for this study. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Niigata University (2020-0499).
Keywords: school, cluster, COVID-19, teachers’ room, child
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation