Even children with mild or no symptoms can spread Covid-19, according to contact tracing data from three Utah child care facilities released Friday.
A new CDC study, published on Friday, traced 184 students, teachers and family members connected to three daycare centers in Salt Lake City, Utah between April 1 and July 10.
Doctors and researchers have noted that children are less likely to be severely impacted by the coronavirus than their adult counterparts. However, many experts have asserted that infected children will be able to spread the virus to adults even if they do not show symptoms. The new CDC studies affirms that theory.
Over the course of the three-month CDC study, 12 of the 110 children ultimately tested positive for the virus. Nine showed mild symptoms, while three showed no symptoms at all.
Testing revealed that six of the 28 observed teachers also contracted the virus.
In-depth contact tracing confirmed that the 18 infected teachers and students then spread COVID-19 to at least 12 of the 46 family members who took part in the study.
Six mothers became infected with COVID-19 - one of whom required hospitalization.
The study is sure to cause more alarm as schools and daycare centers across the country continue to reopen following the end of summer.
The study comes after news that at least four teachers in three states have died from COVID-19 complications since the start of the 2020-2021 academic school year.
Among the teacher casualties since the start of the academic year was elementary school teacher Demetria 'Demi' Bannister, 28, who died Monday just three days after she was diagnosed with the virus.
The district said Bannister was at Windsor Elementary School in Colombia on August 28 for a teacher work day, before classes resumed, but that was her last day in the school.
She began teaching remotely three days later and had not been showing symptoms when she was in the school building.
It's unclear how many teachers in the U.S. have become ill with COVID-19 since the new school year began, but Mississippi alone has reported 604 cases among school teachers and staff.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said schools need guidelines such as mandatory face coverings and strict social distancing rules to reopen safely.
'If community spread is too high as it is in Missouri and Mississippi, if you don't have the infrastructure of testing, and if you don't have the safeguards that prevent the spread of viruses in the school, we believe that you cannot reopen in person,' Weingarten said.
The start of the new school year brought with it new fatalities, two in Mississippi alone.
In Oxford, Mississippi, 42-year-old Nacoma James taught at a middle school and helped coach high school football.
He died August 6 during the first week of classes, but was self-quarantining when teachers and students returned to the classroom, said Lafayette County School District Superintendent Adam Pugh.
Meanwhile, history teacher Tom Slade, also of Mississippi, died Sunday from pneumonia caused by the coronavirus.
Slade was teaching in-person when the academic year started on August 6, Principal Raina Holmes said, but began quarantining after he had contact with someone who was positive at a church meeting.
His last day of teaching was August 21.
On the same day, 34-year-old teacher AshLee DeMarinis died from COVID-19 following three weeks in the hospital.
She taught social skills and special education at John Evans Middle School in Potosi, Missouri, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis.