St. Lawrence County public health official says K-12 schools 'one of the safer places' for kids during pandemic
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
CANTON -- A St. Lawrence County public health official says scientific research suggests K-12 schools "are one of the safer places for kids to be" during the pandemic.
Dr. Andrew Williams, president of the county Board of Health, made the comment during the Monday, Nov. 16 St. Lawrence County legislature Services Committee meeting.He said the scientific information shows that when kids catch the coronavirus, they tend to catch it at home from a family member, not at school where mitigation measures are strict, "like we have here."
He added that he thinks it's good for kids to "see modeling of appropriate public health behavior."
When COVID-19 does come into a K-12 school, the doctor said it's more likely to be an adult that brings it in.
"It does appear children less than 10 years of age are not as susceptible and not as contagious as older children," Dr. Williams said.
He said student-to-student transmission is rare, and even more rare is student-to-adult transmission.
The doctor said COVID-19 in schools tends to mirror the community in which a respective school is located, rather than being a driver of local infection rates.
"If you have a community seeing a large amount of Covid cases in the community in general, you tend to see that in school," he said. "You don't see [that] schools being open contributes to a rise in infection."
He said that when districts make a decision to shut down, it's difficult for many reasons, including that school-age children don't learn as well remotely as they do in the classroom.
"I think the conclusion I would draw from the data is we all know school is very important ... I think the data would suggest schools are one of the safer places for kids to be. It also suggests these decisions about school closures are very difficult ... and have to weigh a bunch of important factors," he said.