We don't need to close schools to fight the coronavirus

If children don’t experience severe illness from or contribute to the spread of Covid-19 — and so far we have found no clear evidence that they do — it’s likely that school closures will have little effect on its spread.

Not all affected countries have closed schools. Singapore, which has been heralded for its response to Covid-19, decided that closing schools would do more harm than good. Political leaders and health officials there have addressed concerns about Covid-19 through clear, consistent and transparent communications about their response to the virus.

If schools remain open, officials could enact measures to limit any potential spread among children and staff. All students could be checked daily for fever, a possible sign of Covid-19 infection. Even more attention should be given to hand washing and reminding children not to touch their faces. Children should be taught to sneeze into their sleeves. Schools can consider changing seating arrangements to keep children six feet apart. As the weather warms, lessons can be taken outside, if possible.

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