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Kern, Anna; Diebenbusch, Jessica; Berner, Reinhard; Kraegeloh-Mann, Ingeborg; Bock, Freia de; Renz-Polster, Herbert and Hübner, Johannes (2021): Welche Rolle spielen Kinder in Schulen und Kindertagesstätten bei der Übertragung von SARS-CoV-2? – Eine evidenzbasierte Perspektive. In: Bundesgesundheitsblatt-Gesundheitsforschung-Gesundheitsschutz, Vol. 64, No. 12: pp. 1492-1499

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Are children and adolescents relevant disease vectors when it comes to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2? Moreover, do they play a role as relevant disease vectors in a school or kindergarten setting? These questions could not be sufficiently answered at the beginning of the pandemic. Consequently, schools and childcare facilities were closed to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Over the past few months, researchers have gained a more detailed understanding of the overall pandemic situation. The SARS-CoV-2 infection rate in children below 10 years of age in 2020 has been substantially lower than in adults. In addition, it showed that children had a milder course of disease. Although a majority of the analyses performed in schools and childcare facilities revealed that the virus is transmitted in these facilities, these transmissions did not, however, have a considerable influence on the overall rate of new infections. Despite these findings, German politicians continue to advocate for the closure of childcare facilities, including schools, to fight the pandemic, whereas many specialist societies such as the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) have emphasized that such closures should be the measure of last resort in combating the pandemic. The same message is also conveyed by a German evidence-based S3 guideline established by an interdisciplinary expert group that had already put forward clear recommendations for high incidences in the general population at the beginning of February 2021, indicating that school closures were only required in exceptional cases. In this article, we would like to outline the situation based on the currently available data, try to predict the future, and discuss the circumstances necessary to realize normal classroom teaching without accepting the risk of an uncontrolled spread of SARS-CoV-2.

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