JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now finds that teachers play an important role in school spread of COVID-19 when social distancing, and masks are not optimal.
The study points to teacher vaccinations as key to slowing the spread, along with masks, social distancing and hand-washing, among other things. According to the study, the most common method of transmission is between teachers.
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The CDC report reads, “in German schools, in-school transmission rates were three times higher when the index case occurred in an educator than when the index case occurred in a student.”
Chris Guerrieri is a teacher at Duval County Public Schools and recently came down with COVID-19.
“Yeah I was pretty sick for a while. Even after I was feeling better and I tested negative, it took me a while to feel back to normal,” he told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant.
But he said he wasn’t concerned about the virus. “Next to all of the [kids] all day long, there isn’t much social distancing in my room, as there isn’t in many rooms.”
He also said there is a lag in contact tracing.
Duval Teachers United, the local chapter of the Florida Education Association, requested the Department of Health hire more staff for contact tracing.
“Sometimes they’re so far behind in backlog, I don’t know if it’s being done as efficiently and timely as possible.”
Action News Jax medical expert Dr. Michelle Aquino said there’s no clear reason why adults transmit the virus easier.
“We need to be concerned about our adult population in the school and make sure they are vaccinated, as kids don’t show such a threat of transmitting the virus,” she said.
But she reminds people that masks, social distancing and hand-washing are still key.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said teachers ages 50 and up could soon be eligible for vaccines at Gateway Mall, which is a federally-supported site opening Wednesday, March 3.
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