This blog on Texas education contains posts on accountability, testing, K-12 education, postsecondary educational attainment, dropouts, bilingual education, immigration, school finance, environmental issues, Ethnic Studies at state and national levels. It also represents my digital footprint, of life and career, as a community-engaged scholar in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin.
More than 300 children in Texas day cares have caught COVID-19, and the numbers are rising
What to make of this report especially when the American Academy of Pediatrics reiterates in its guidance "that unlike the flu, children do not seem to amplify the outbreak of COVID-19, with other experts agreeing? On balance, it sounds like good news. We'll definitely know more as things progress with the coronavirus. -Angela Valenzuela
Nationwide, coronavirus transmission rates among children have appeared to be low, partly explaining the push to reopen schools. But Texas day cares are seeing cases increase quickly.
As of Tuesday, there were 950 reported positive cases of COVID-19 — 307 children and 643 staff members — at 668 Texas child care locations. Eddie Gaspar - Texas Tribune
BY REESE OXNERAlthough COVID-19 transmission rates nationwide among children have appeared to remain relatively low, more than 300 children at Texas child care centers have tested positive, and the numbers are rising quickly.
As of Tuesday, there were 950 reported positive cases of COVID-19 — 307 children and 643 staff members — at 668 child care locations. Statewide, 12,207 licensed child care operations are open, and total reported coronavirus cases have risen from 59 cases in mid-May and 576 on June 23.
The rise comes as experts and health officials appear to diverge on how risky it is for children to gather in group settings like day care and school classrooms. The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that students be “physically present” in schools, saying that the educational advantages outweigh health risks. The academy says it thinks 3 feet of social distancing is sufficient for classrooms and stated that "the relative impact of physical distancing among children is likely small based on current evidence and certainly difficult to implement."
But guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that day care center providers consider a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing and dismiss students and most staff for two to five daysif they have a confirmed coronavirus case so public health authorities can assess the situation.
About 1.1 million Texas children were in state-licensed and registered home day care centers before COVID-19 struck. Several child care centers have closed during the pandemic, with others reporting a drop in the number of children attending.
A University of Vermont study has found thatchildren contract COVID-19 "far less frequently" than adults and found it less likely to be spread among children. It concluded that “transmission in schools may be less important in community transmission than initially feared.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics, which is set to publish the study in its journal, reiterated this in its guidance for reopening schools, stating that unlike the flu, children do not seem to amplify the outbreak of COVID-19. Other expertshaveechoed these findings as well.
On Thursday, Texas published a new set of emergency rules for child care centers, reinstating safety mandates that had been repealed in mid-June. These include requiring child care centers to check temperatures of staff and students daily, having parents drop students off outside, and not serving family-style meals.
“Providers are required to follow state Minimum Standards to ensure the health and safety of children in care,” Texas Health and Human Services Commission spokesperson Danielle Pestrikoff said in an email. “HHSC has enacted emergency rules and they require operations to implement screening procedures that align with the CDC’s most recent guidance. We continue to advise child care operations to follow the guidance of the CDC and those laid out in Governor Abbott’s Open Texas Checklist.”
Aliyya Swaby contributed to this report.
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