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Healthcare professional: Screen and Stay will be effective in keeping kids in the classroom

A healthcare professional says the Screen and Stay initiative for Connecticut schools will help keep more kids in the classroom without adding much additional risk.

News 12 Staff

Nov 4, 2021, 9:43 PM

Updated 983 days ago

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A healthcare professional says the Screen and Stay initiative for Connecticut schools will help keep more kids in the classroom without adding much additional risk.
"Maintaining in-person educational learning for children in the state is really a priority, and that's something we've seen over the past 18 months," says Dr. Scott Roberts, who is an infectious disease specialist with Yale Medicine. He says recent studies suggest it's safe to keep kids in school after low-risk contacts.
"When teachers and staff are able to monitor the children and see that 6 feet of distance was maintained, the kids were properly wearing their masks, the risk of COVID transmission in that scenario is really low," Roberts says.
Out of school contacts will still require quarantine.
Roberts says it's much harder to gauge risk during extracurriculars or at home.
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"At a dinner table, for instance, where there's unmasked to unmasked contact for greater than 15 minutes, and many times, hours at a time. Those are scenarios where it's much more likely to get COVID or to transmit it to another child," Roberts says.
He expects transmission numbers in the classroom to come down even further as school-aged kids start getting vaccinated.
"Right now, I think the biggest risk we all fear in schools is that every classroom is full of unvaccinated people in these age groups," Roberts says.
Roberts says at least until vaccine numbers come up, masking young kids in school is still a good idea.
"Even vaccinated individuals are still able to transmit the virus. And so for that reason, we're recommending masking in indoor spaces, especially in high-risk settings," he adds.
The decision on whether to opt into Screen and Stay is being left up to local school and health districts.
"And a lot of that is what resources do they have, what's the current rate of COVID in the community, are they able to supply masks, are kids able to quarantine if they do get exposed," Roberts explains.
Greenwich Public Schools told News 12 Connecticut that it plans on adopting Screen and Stay later this month. The district says it's being extra cautious and ensuring that plans are in place.


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