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SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Educational Settings During an Early Summer Epidemic Wave in Luxembourg

  • Mossong, Joël
  • Mombaerts, Laurent
  • Veiber, Lisa
  • Pastore, Jessica
  • LeCoroller, Gwenaelle
  • Schnell, Michael
  • Masi, Silvana
  • Huiart, Laetitia
  • Wilmes, Paul
Publication Date
Oct 26, 2020
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Background: The role of schools and children in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 remains to be determined. Following a first wave in spring and gradual easing of lockdown, Luxembourg experienced an early second epidemic wave before the start of summer school holidays on 15th July. This provided the opportunity to study the role of school-age children and school settings in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. More specifically, we compared the incidence in school-age children, teachers and the general working population, and estimated the number of secondary transmissions occurring at schools using contact tracing data. Findings: While SARS-CoV-2 incidence was much higher in adults aged 20 and above than in children aged 0 to 19 during the first wave in spring, no significant difference was found during the second wave in early summer. The incidence during the second wave was similar for pupils, teachers and the general working population. Based on a total of 424 reported confirmed COVID-19 cases in school-age children and teachers, we estimate that 179 index cases caused 49 secondary transmissions in schools. While some small clusters of mainly student-to-student transmission within the same class were identified, we did not observe any large outbreaks with multiple generations of infection. Interpretation: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within Luxembourg schools was limited during the early summer epidemic wave in 2020. Precautionary measures including physical distancing as well as easy access to testing, systematic contact tracing appears to have been successful in mitigating transmission within educational settings. Funding Statement: LV is supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund grant COVID-19/2020- 1/14701707/REBORN, LM is supported by Luxembourg National Research Fund grant COVID19/14863306/PREVID, PW is supported by the European Research Council (ERC-CoG 863664). Declaration of Interests: No competing interests. Ethics Approval Statement: The Health Directorate has the legal permission to process patient confidential information for national surveillance of communicable diseases in general and contact tracing for the COVID-19 pandemic and individual patient consent is not required.

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