Concerns over COVID-19 spread grow ahead of students returning to school next week

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Posted at 5:59 AM, Dec 28, 2020

TAMPA — Concerns are growing over the spread of COVID-19 when students return to school after the holiday break.

“With school out at this time of the year, everybody makes plans to travel or to receive travelers and people are still traveling. I think less so than prior years but the concern is that without taking the proper precautions we can worsen the spread which is already pretty bad quite frankly,” said Dr. Marissa Levine, Professor of Public Health Practice at the University of South Florida.

Experts say if we let our guards down now, we’ll make this spike even worse, especially with so many different groups of people mixing during the holidays.

Doctors say that’s what’s most concerning, as K-12 students head back to school next week.

They key message they say is to continue keeping your distance, use face coverings, and wash hands frequently to minimize the possibility of kids bringing the virus into the school systems.

“Schools have been really pushing all along and the health experts have been pushing too, that if you are sick, if you have symptoms, of flu or COVID, do not go to school, do not go to work. That’s the main thing. That helps us to a certain degree,” said Levine.

However, doctors say the problem is, with COVID-19 cases now surging again in the community, that means there’s a lot of asymptomatic spread going on right now.

School leaders say they’re worried about virus spread when students start class again.

While there’s been a lot of discussion about how COVID-19 is less worrisome for younger children, medical experts say there’s more of a concern for transmission with kids right now.

“It’s not completely benign. Certainly there are children who have underlying health conditions that put them at risk for complications and hospitalizations. We now know that children, particularly those over 10 can spread COVID like adults,” said Levine.