I am going to constantly beat on the theme that children have no risk from coronavirus, are not significant transmission agents to either other children or adults and should be immediately permitted to resume a normal educational and social life. They are at far more danger if they don’t do so.
And here, first off, is clear evidence of that danger. An article from England reveals a number of child deaths directly attributable to the fear-mongering and lockdowns leading to delayed care. (UK Article) One in three pediatricians handling emergency admissions reported seeing children whose condition was worse because they did not seek care in time and 9 deaths were said to be related to this.
Here is a article from a site called Early Learning Community which also concludes that children should be going back to school. (ELC Article) While I completely disagree with the author’s opinion that schools should have been closed initially, he provides a good summary of the evidence for opening them and day care facilities. Day care facilities have been open all along, supposedly only for the children of essential workers, and there have been almost no cases among the children attending them. 22 European countries have re-opened their schools and none have had any surge in cases. As the author states, numerous surveys tracking transmission have found that not only do children rarely get the disease, they almost never are a transmission source, particularly to adults. And he notes that not having access to day care or school is causing extreme stress for parents.
Here is an excellent study from Singapore looking at transmission in educational settings. (Sing. Study) There were two cases from children in a school setting. Both got the virus from a family member at home, not from the school. Eight symptomatic contacts of those children were tested, all were negative. One of the cases was at a preschool and 34 contacts were tested, all negative. In another case one staff member tested positive, which turned into a cluster of 16 staff being infected. 77 children were tested, not one was positive. Pretty compelling evidence of children not being easily infected and not being a source of transmission.
While it has a lot of weasel language, the statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics clearly recommends sending children back to school for in-person learning. (AAP Statement) I also think a number of the limitations are excessive. It is ludicrous to suggest masks or strict distancing for this population. The statement does strongly recognize that great harm is being done to children by being out of school, including an inability to identify problems they may be having and creating greater food insecurity and lack of physical activity. And of course, not being in school hurts minority and low-income students the most.