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COVID-19 in educational settings investigation

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance

Date Funded:
  • 31 March, 2020
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Kristine Macartney

Project summary

Examining the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted within school and early childhood education and care settings in NSW

What is the issue?

Globally, school closures have occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic however, there was limited empirical data available on transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) among children and in educational settings.

While closing schools may be an effective strategy to help control the spread of serious flu outbreaks, this policy decision may have limited (or no) effect on controlling community spread of the COVID-19 virus. Given the significant social and economic impacts of NSW school closures on families and communities, local evidence is required to inform this policy decision.

This project will examine SARS-CoV-2 transmission among children and staff in schools and early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings in NSW. The project outcomes have and will continue to inform policy decisions in managing NSW’s pandemic response in these settings.

What does the research aim to do and how?

NSW Health is investing in a project led by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance to identify the extent of COVID-19 transmission in schools and early childcare centres in NSW.

The study will investigate onward transmission of laboratory-confirmed paediatric (aged ≤18 years) and adult COVID-19 cases in NSW who have attended a school or early childhood care setting while considered infectious. to date.

Research findings

Transmisson of SARS-CoV-2 in Australian educational settings a prospective cohort study article in The Lancet: Child and Adolescent Health.

More information

NCIRS: COVID-19 in educational settings project summary on National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance website.

Why is coronavirus transmission so low in schools? article on NSW health and medical research website.