Fewer than 1 percent of teachers and students have become infected with COVID-19 since classes began, according to a new study.
The new data from Brown University’s National COVID-19 School Response Data Dashboard followed 550 schools across 46 states over a two-week period starting Aug. 31, with at least 300 conducting some form of in-person learning, the Washington Post reported.
Researchers found that only 0.23 percent of students and 0.51 percent of teachers had confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.
For confirmed cases specifically, the rate fell even lower with only 0.076 percent of students infected and 0.15 percent of educators.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said this early data has indicated that school reopenings haven’t been as risky as previously thought.
“Everyone had a fear there would be explosive outbreaks of transmission in the schools,” Osterholm told the newspaper.
“In colleges, there have been. We have to say that, to date, we have not seen those in the younger kids, and that is a really important observation.”
But Emily Oster, a Brown University economics professor who helped create the tracker, said that schools should still evaluate all risk factors when approaching in-person classes.
“These numbers will be, for some people, reassuring and suggest that school openings may be less risky than they expected,” Oster told the newspaper.
But she added, “I don’t think that these numbers say all places should open schools with no restrictions or anything that comes close to that. Ultimately, school districts are going to have different attitudes toward risk.”