Data gathered worldwide are increasingly suggesting that schools are not hotspots for coronavirus infections. Despite fears, COVID-19 infections did not surge when schools and day-care centres reopened after pandemic lockdowns eased. And when outbreaks do occur, they mostly result in only a small number of people becoming ill.
However, research also shows that children can catch the virus and shed viral particles, and older children are more likely than very young kids to pass it on to others. Scientists say that the reasons for these trends are unclear, but they have policy implications for older children and teachers.
Globally, COVID-19 infections are still much lower in children than among adults, says Walter Haas, an infectious-diseases epidemiologist at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. “They seem rather to follow the situation than to drive it.”