Abstract | April 4, 2022

Efficacy of Infection Control Measures and Temperature Measurement in Controlling Spread of COVID-19 in School-Aged Children

Presenting Author: Courtney Kathleen Rich, MB, BCh, BAO, MPH, Emergency Medicine Resident PGY2, Department of Emergency Medicine; Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Magnolia Regional Health Center, Corinth, Mississippi

Coauthors: Laura Hanson, DO, MA, Emergency Medicine, PGY2, Magnolia Regional Health Center, Corinth, MS; Luther Daniel, MS4, Lincoln Memorial University - Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN; Amy Davis, MD, FACEP, Core Faculty, Emergency Medicine, Magnolia Regional Health Center, Corinth, MS

Learning Objectives

  1. Recognize that temperature screening alone is not a sufficient method for identifying COVID-19 in school-aged children;
  2. Describe the importance of public health safety management in schools during a global pandemic;
  3. Apply new infection control methods to the management of public health outbreaks within schools.

Background: In July 2020, Corinth School District was first in the State of Mississippi to return to an inperson classroom setting. Multiple COVID-19 precautions were developed and put into place to maintain the safety of students and staff. These included mandatory masking, temperature scanning, family-grouped bus seating, desk spacing, sanitizing protocols, lunch periods kept within classrooms, staggered recess, alteration of extracurriculars, cancellation of indoor assemblies and field trips, and quarantine policies. Students registering as febrile would be sent home for COVID-19 testing.

Goals: Evaluate the efficacy of protocols used by Corinth School District in preventing the spread of COVID-19 within children aged 4-18 years attending school between the dates of July 27th, 2020 to September 25th, 2020 and determine if temperature scanning is a reasonable surveillance method for COVID-19 in the school setting.

Methods: De-identified data was obtained from the Corinth School District. Overall incidence of COVID19, as well as incidence based on grade-level groupings, were calculated in children attending school between the dates of July 27th, 2020 to September 25th, 2020. Data was examined for correlation between documented fevers at school and COVID-19 positivity. Reports provided by the school district were investigated for positive test groupings or exposures signifying a school-related outbreak.

Results: 26 children tested positive for COVID-19; none of these were febrile at school. Incidence of COVID-19 in our population during the study period was 1.03%. Incidence in elementary school children was 0.34%, 0.93% in middle school, and 2.51% in high school-aged children. Of 28 children with at school fevers; zero tested positive for COVID-19. There were no outbreaks at school requiring closure of a classroom or a return to full virtual format during the study period.

Conclusions: Temperature scanning is not a sensitive screening method for COVID-19 positivity in school-aged children. A combination of the infection control measures taken above likely prevented a major outbreak and in-person classes were able to continue without interruption. Further investigation into infection control measures would shed further light on those most successful in preventing COVID19 transmission in school-aged children