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Coronavirus presents risk for about half of school employees

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Topic: Coronavirus presents risk for about half of school employees

About half of school employees are at risk for contracting coronavirus, according to a study.

A group of researchers found that up to 51% of all school employees in the United States met criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) for having increased risk or a potential increased risk for contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

“Between 42.0% and 51.4% of all school employees met the CDC definition for being at increased risk of severe COVID-19, depending on whether we used the main or broader CDC definition of increased risk,” the authors of the preprinted study, which was released ahead of peer review by the journal Health Affairs this week, stated in their report.

The CDC considers high-risk individuals to be those who are in an older age group, and individuals with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

“These results align closely with the 43% of teachers who reported having a physical condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19 in a recent nationally-representative Education Week Research Center survey,” the study stated.

The researchers also looked at how often individuals at risk for severe novel coronavirus infections were associated with schools, meaning if they worked or lived in the same household with a school employee or school-age children.

“Our results highlight the public health challenge that arises when the risk of school-related exposure is coupled with the potential for within-household transmission,” the study authors wrote in the report.

“We also found that many school employees and many school-age children lived in households with persons with increased risk. Overall, between 63.2% and 71.9% of school employees and between 58.7% and 71.0% of school-age children lived in households with at least one increased-risk adult, depending on the CDC guideline used,” the authors stated in the study.

The team of researchers used data collected between 2014 and 2017 to see how the high-risk individuals for COVID-19 infections were associated with elementary and secondary schools.

“Among all adults with CDC risk factors for severe COVID-19, between 33.9 million and 44.2 million had direct or within-household connections to schools,” the researchers wrote.

Topic Discussed: Coronavirus presents risk for about half of school employees