SARS-CoV-2 Infection among School Population of One Developing Country. Do School Closures Protect Students and Teachers against SARS-CoV-2 Infection?

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Dec 1;18(23):12680. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182312680.


Evidence about the effectiveness of school closures as a measure to control the spread of COVID-19 is controversial. We posit that schools are not an important source of transmission; thus, we analyzed two surveillance methods: a web-based questionnaire and a telephone survey that monitored the impact of the pandemic due to COVID-19 cases in Bogotá, Colombia. We estimated the cumulative incidences for Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) and COVID-19 for each population group. Then, we assessed the differences using the cumulative incidence ratio (CIR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI95%). The ARI incidence among students was 20.1 times higher when estimated from the telephone survey than from the online questionnaire (CIR: 20.1; CI95% 17.11-23.53). Likewise, the ARI incidence among schoolteachers was 10 times higher in the telephone survey (CIR: 9.8; CI95% 8.3-11.5). the incidence of COVID-19 among schoolteachers was 4.3 times higher than among students in the online questionnarie (CIR: 4.3, CI95%: 3.8-5.0) and 2.1 times higher in the telephone survey (CIR = 2.1, CI95%: 1.8-2.6), and this behavior was also observed in the general population data. Both methods showed a capacity to detect COVID-19 transmission among students and schoolteachers, but the telephone survey estimates were probably closer to the real incidence rate.

Keywords: COVID-19; Colombia; school teachers; students; surveys and questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Developing Countries
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • School Teachers
  • Schools
  • Students