Health Board: Schools should keep close contact to minimum

A back-to-school sign.
A back-to-school sign.

Ahead of the new academic year, Chief Specialist at the Health Board's (Terviseamet) Influenza Center, Olga Sadikova, says that the international statistics reveal that the spread of the coronavirus among children is quite rare. She does, however, recommend schools send a schoolchild with even the mildest symptoms home, minimizing contacts and following hygiene requirements.

The spread of the coronavirus differs between different age groups, statistics show.

Sadikova highlighted that the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that while the percentage of people age up to 18 is almost 29 percent of the whole world population, the proportion of registered cases in that age group is between one and three percent. In cases registered in Europe alone, about 4 percent were under 18. Of these, 24 percent were under four years of age, 32 percent were 5-11-year-olds, and 44 percent were aged 12-18.

Based on a risk assessment by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, transmission of COVID-19 from a child to another child is rare. Cases registered where a child had affected a teacher or another member of the school staff were also exceptional, the organization says.

The Health Board recommends schools first send people with any symptoms home, even the mildest ones, on the grounds that if a potentially sick person stays away from the remainder of the school body, the virus can't propagate.

Sadikova added that schools should definitely arrange their work so that the number of close contacts should be kept to a minimum.

It is also important that students, teachers and other school staff follow strong hand and respiratory hygiene practises, she said. When coughing and sneezing, the mouth and nose should be covered with a paper towel. People with signs of respiratory infectious disease should be kept at a distance at all times, she added.

The new school year starts on its traditional date of September 1, i.e. Tuesday, and for many pupils will be the first time they have seen the inside of a school building for months, as from March to the school year end teaching was done remotely, as the coronavirus pandemic spread.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte

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