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How do I prepare for my child's return to school?

Text updated on 2021-05-03

This decision must take into account everyone's situation.

In some countries, parents can choose when their child can return to school after confinement. This decision must take into account the context of each person: risk of parents catching COVID-19 in their professional environment, presence of vulnerable persons in contact with the child, preventive measures taken in the school, the child's educational and psychological situation, means of transport used by the child, number of people with COVID-19 in the region, level of contamination and saturation of hospitals in the region, etc.

At this moment, here are some relevant observations that may help you make your decision:

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Systematic synthesis of March 23rd of COVID-19 in children. Incubation time can range from 2 to 10 days.

Ludvigsson JF. Systematic review of COVID-19 in children show milder cases and a better prognosis than adults. Acta Paediatr. 2020 Mar 23.

In the Crépy-en-Valois high school (Oise, France), 38% of the students, 43% of the teachers, and 59% of the staff working in the school who were given a serological test were positive, confirming SARS-CoV-2 infections. The rate of secondary intra-familial transmission was estimated at 11% to parents and 10% to siblings.

Fontanet, A., Shearer, L., Madec, Y., Grant, R., Besombes, C., Jolly, N., ... & Temmam, S. (2020). Cluster of COVID-19 in northern France: A retrospective closed cohort study. medRxiv.

Retrospective study of >40,000 cases COVID in China: the probability of dying from coronavirus if infected for people aged 80 years and over is estimated at 14.8% and for those aged 70-79 years at 8%. Beware, these figures are difficult to estimate: they are both overestimated because they do not take into account undetected infected people (not everyone is tested) and underestimated because some infected people have not yet died. An adult who reported having no pre-existing medical conditions ("co-morbidity") has a 0.9% chance of dying from COVID-19 if she/he catches it.

Vital Surveys (2020). The epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19)-China, 2020. China CDC Weekly, 2(8), 113-122.

Study of the epidemic in Italy as of 17 March 2020: the probability of dying from coronavirus if infected in the 80+ age group is estimated at 20% and in the 70-79 age group at 12.8%.

Onder, G., Rezza, G., & Brusaferro, S. (2020). Case-fatality rate and characteristics of patients dying in relation to COVID-19 in Italy. Jama.

Analysis of the epidemic in South Korea as of March 24, 2020: the probability of dying from coronavirus if infected in the 80+ age group is estimated at 13.6% and in the 70-79 age group at 6.4%.

Kim, D. H., Choe, Y. J., & Jeong, J. Y. (2020). Understanding and interpretation of case fatality rate of coronavirus disease 2019. Journal of Korean Medical Science, 35(12).

Analysis of 71,903 cases of COVID-19 in France which led to 10,129 deaths: the probability of dying from coronavirus if infected is estimated at 8% for those aged 80 and over (about 14% for men and 6% for women) and 2-4% for those aged 70-79.

Henrik Salje, Cécile Tran Kiem, Noémie Lefrancq, Noémie Courtejoie, Paolo Bosetti, et al. Estimating the burden of SARS-CoV-2 in France. 2020. ffpasteur-02548181e

Epidemiological study of 105 cases of COVID-19 and their close contacts in China: the secondary attack rate for contacts who were spouses of index cases was 27.8%, compared to 17.3% for other adult household members.

Li, W., Zhang, B., Lu, J., Liu, S., Chang, Z., Cao, P., ... & Chen, J. (2020). The characteristics of household transmission of COVID-19. Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Further reading

At what age should children wear a mask at school, depending on the country?

Can children be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus?

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 in children?

Can my child transmit COVID-19 ?

Children's role during the COVID-19 epidemic: what do we know?