Half of students in a California classroom tested positive for COVID-19 after a teacher arrived at school infected with India’s ‘Delta’ variant, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds .
The elementary school teacher in Marin County, California, felt symptomatic, but continued to work for two days before receiving his or her positive test result.
Occasionally, the teacher—who had not been vaccinated—read aloud in class, despite the school’s requirement to be masked indoors at all times.
Within a week, it was confirmed that 12 of the 24 students in the class had been infected with the virus – seven of whom sat in the first two rows.
In addition, at least six children in a separate class tested positive for Covid, as did eight parents and siblings of students in the two classes.
The authors say the findings show how highly transmissible the Delta variant is and recommend that all teachers and school personnel be vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent passing the disease to children who are too young to receive the injections.
A new CDC report details how an unmasked and unvaccinated schoolteacher in Marin County, California, worked for two days before testing positive for COVID-19. Pictured: Third grade teacher Keyona Moxey teaches at Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville, Tennessee, Aug. 20
After the teacher’s test result, 12 of the 24 children in the teacher’s class tested positive, including all five children who sat in the front row (above)
According to the report, published Friday, the teacher worked at a school in Marin County — just north of San Francisco — with 205 kindergarten through 8th grade students and 24 staff members.
All but two employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19, including the teacher named in the study.
He or she started experiencing symptoms on May 19, including nasal congestion and fatigue, but worked for the next two days.
During that time, the teacher reported more symptoms, including fever, cough, and headache.
Although the school, according to CDC recommendations, required teachers and students to wear a mask inside at all times, the teacher did not wear a face covering while reading to the class.
On May 21, the teacher received a positive COVID-19 test, informed the school and went into isolation until May 30.
Meanwhile, the first students in his or her class started showing symptoms on May 22, the day after the positive test result.
Of the 24 children in the class, 22 were tested. A total of 12 children received a positive COVID-19 result.
More than half of the kids who tested positive, or seven, were in the first two rows, meaning they were closest to the teacher.
All five children sitting in the front row tested positive and four had symptoms, accounting for two-thirds of all children with symptoms.
The positive results came despite the desks being spaced six feet apart and the kids wearing masks indoors.
In addition, all classrooms were equipped with portable high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) air filters and doors and windows were left open.
In addition to the unvaccinated teacher and his or her students, it was also confirmed that six of the 18 children in a nearby school were infected with COVID-19, as well as siblings and parents of students in the two classes (above)
CDC authors say the findings show how contagious the Indian ‘Delta’ variant is and recommend that teachers be vaccinated to prevent outbreaks. Pictured: Graph shows how quickly the infected teacher spread the virus to other students and their parents
But positive test results didn’t just come from the sick teacher’s classroom.
In a nearby classroom, 14 of the 18 students were tested for the virus and six were confirmed to be infected.
There were also eight more cases – one student each from four other classes, who were siblings of the students in the two classes, and four parents.
None of the children who were infected were eligible for vaccination because they are under the age of 12, the minimum age to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the US
According to the report, no other staff at the school became ill and no infected adults or students were hospitalized.
The infected teacher’s sample was submitted for genome sequencing and he or she was found to be infected with the Delta variant.
“This outbreak of COVID-19 that originated with an unvaccinated teacher highlights the importance of vaccinating school staff who are in close contact with children ineligible for vaccination as schools reopen,” the authors wrote. .
“The attack rate of the outbreak highlights the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant and the potential for rapid spread, especially in unvaccinated populations such as schoolchildren who are too young for vaccination.”