Unvaccinated teacher gave COVID-19 to elementary school students

CDC officials say an unnamed, unvaccinated and unmasked elementary school teacher infected half of her students in May.

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In a disturbing new report out of California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an unnamed, unvaccinated and unmasked elementary school teacher in Marin County infected half of her students with COVID-19, as well as members of her own family. 

According to the report, the teacher said she became symptomatic on May 19, but continued to go to work for two days before being tested on May 21. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an unnamed, unvaccinated and unmasked elementary school teacher in Marin County, California infected half of her students with COVID-19 by reading aloud to them. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“On occasion during this time, the teacher read aloud unmasked to the class despite school requirements to mask while indoors,” the report reads. 

CDC officials note that a total of 27 cases were identified, including that of the teacher.

“During May 23–26, among the teacher’s 24 students, 22 students, all ineligible for vaccination because of age, received testing for SARS-CoV-2; 12 received positive test results. The attack rate in the two rows seated closest to the teacher’s desk was 80% (eight of 10) and was 28% (four of 14) in the three back rows,” the report indicates. 

The school staffer’s outbreak infected fellow staff members, students, parents and siblings of kids connected to the campus. Everyone sickened was infected with the delta variant of COVID-19. 

The CDC report notes that the school had a mask mandate by which the teacher did not abide. There has been a subsequent quarantine in the community, and classrooms were sanitized. 

This outbreak highlights the importance of vaccination, officials say, and masking — particularly in schools with children who are younger than the eligible age of vaccination.

“In addition to vaccination of eligible persons, implementation of and strict adherence to multipronged nonpharmaceutical prevention strategies including proper masking, routine testing, ventilation and staying home while symptomatic are important to ensure safe school instruction,” the report reads. 

Per NBC News, 72% of eligible people in Marin County have been vaccinated, one of the best rates in California.

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