Health officials warn about COVID-19 transmission in schools


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There are concerns for COVID-19 transmission among children as more head back to full time, in person learning.

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that 20% of new COVID-19 cases are in children. 

“Over the last seven days, we started to plateau, or at least not surging,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said during the county’s weekly COVID-19 briefing.

“However we are still seeing far too many cases among our younger age demographics. From yesterday’s COVID-19 report we had 35 cases of resident 9-years-old or younger, 41 cases of residents 10 to 19, 47 cases of people in their 20s and 46 cases of residents in their 30s. This has been a trend for the last several weeks.”

Dr. Steven Schulz, pediatric medical director for Rochester Regional Health attributes this to different behaviors.

“We are seeing cases rise as a whole and I think that is due to spring break and a lot of folks traveling and letting their guard down and not being quite as careful.” 

In the COVID-19 briefing from the county, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said it’s unlikely students in middle and high school will return to full time, in person learning this school year.

New York state guidance recommends physical distancing requirements dependent on grade level, with a minimum of 3 feet for elementary school students. Middle and high schools may shift from the 6-foot requirement to the new 3-foot requirement, depending on cohort sizes in the schools and rates of infection on the county level.

“The trend currently is not looking terribly good to get that rate down such that the schools will be open in the 6-12 grades.”

Youth ice hockey has been suspended in Monroe County since a COVID outbreak at a tournament earlier this month, and the health commissioner say it’s not yet safe to resume youth ice hockey activities.

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