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11Alive investigates risk of COVID spread in schools

11Alive took a look at the numbers to get an idea of how likely it is we'll see a COVID outbreak in the first few weeks of the school year.

ATLANTA — Kids are heading back to the classroom and that means new concerns about a possible spike in COVID cases. But, should parents be worried?

11Alive took a look at the numbers to get an idea of how likely it is we'll see a COVID outbreak in the first few weeks of the school year.

Trends in schools tend to mirror how the virus is spreading among the larger population.

In 2021, when students returned to the classroom in late August, cases among school-aged kids were seven times higher than they were the month prior. Around that time, there was a larger surge sweeping through the general public as well.

Currently, there's also an increase in COVID cases within the state of Georgia; however, it's nowhere near the numbers reported last year.

What's different now? Nearly all kids are now vaccine eligible, compared to last fall when only older students could get that added protection.

Right now, BA.5 is the dominate subvariant here in Georgia, entering the picture just as school was letting out for the summer, and adding to a steady increase in cases among kids in the last couple months.

However, there's been no real spike, according to the data.

Still, the CDC said the best tips for avoiding COVID are the same as last spring:

  • Stay up to date on vaccines
  • Wash your hands
  • Test if you're exposed or experiencing symptoms 
  • Stay home when feeling sick

While it's hard to predict what will happen as kids continue to return to the classroom, you can keep up with the latest data online.

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