Unvaccinated and Unmasked Calif. Teacher Spread COVID Delta Variant to Elementary School Students
An unvaccinated California teacher passed along the Delta variant of COVID-19 to a group of their elementary school students, as well as others, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Earlier this year, the educator from Marin County — who has not been identified by name — became symptomatic on May 19, experiencing side effects such as "cough, subjective fever, and headache."
Initially attributing the symptoms they were experiencing to allergies, the teacher continued to work. During that time, they read aloud to their students without wearing a mask or any type of face covering, despite requirements from the school to do so while indoors, the CDC said.
The teacher later took a COVID test two days later, where they subsequently obtained a positive test result.
On May 23, positive cases of COVID-19 were then reported among the teacher's class of 24, as well as through other staff members, parents, and siblings in close contact with those affected. Each of the infected students at the educational institution were too young to have been vaccinated, per the CDC.
Counting the teacher, a total of 27 cases were identified, the CDC said, with twelve of the teacher's pupils testing positive for the virus alongside six students in a different grade and eight parents and siblings of the students. Among the 27 cases, 22 individuals reported symptoms, with the most common being fever, cough, headache, and sore throat.
According to the CDC, all school staff members were vaccinated against COVID with the exception of the teacher in question and one other educator on staff.
"This outbreak of COVID-19 that originated with an unvaccinated teacher highlights the importance of vaccinating school staff members who are in close indoor contact with children ineligible for vaccination as schools reopen," the CDC stated in their report.
"The outbreak's attack rate highlights the Delta variant's increased transmissibility and potential for rapid spread, especially in unvaccinated populations such as schoolchildren too young for vaccination," the health organization added.
The CDC also noted ways to help combat the ongoing pandemic in schools include the utilization of "proper masking, routine testing, ventilation, and staying home while symptomatic."
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