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Would closing schools help prevent the spread of COVID-19?
In the past, closing schools does appear to have helped to control the spread of viruses like influenza. This is because children tend to be very susceptible to common human respiratory viruses. They shed, or pass on, viruses at higher levels and for longer than adults, which makes them more likely to transmit the disease and typically have poorer hygiene habits than adults.
Thus, many schools within the United States and abroad have closed in response to COVID-19. But, it's important to note that school closures are not guaranteed to reduce transmission. Timing of the closure is very important. Closures early in the epidemic are more likely to be effective, and they may be ineffective if children just gather in other locations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a series of guidelines for schools to prepare for the coronavirus. This includes making cleaning supplies readily available, encouraging students and staff to stay home if sick, planning for digital or distance learning, and considering school closures if necessary.
Source: The Conversation
Drafted: 13 March 2020