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To Spread or Not to Spread SARS-CoV-2—Is That the Question?

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has upended society in many ways. The tragic and rising number of deaths we continue to see throughout the world, the overloaded hospitals, the devastated economies1—all of these appropriately garner daily front-page headlines. However, the impact of this pandemic on children may ultimately prove to have the most lasting effect. Because of concerns about the potential for driving transmission of the virus, with a few exceptions, schools in many parts of the world have been mostly closed to in-person learning since roughly March 2020.2 We have already seen short-term consequences of these closures, and the potential longer-term consequences of a missed year (or more) of learning are dire.3 Nine months into this pandemic, the question of what role children play in transmission of the virus has not been fully answered, with conflicting data, particularly from early in the pandemic, creating a confusing picture.4,5 Without a clearer picture, many schools remain either fully or partially closed to in-person learning because of concerns of both passing the virus to teachers and staff and of bringing it home from schools to their families.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Sean T. O’Leary, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 13199 E Montview Blvd, Ste 300, Aurora, CO 80045 (sean.oleary@cuanschutz.edu).

Published Online: January 22, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.0006

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
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