How easily is SARS-CoV-2 transmitted in educational settings?

Kids, Girl, Pencil, Drawing, Notebook, Study, Friends

Bottom Line:

Educational settings might not contribute significantly to the spread of COVID-19 when there are effective contact-tracing measures and smaller class sizes.


Macartney, K. et al. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Australian educational settings: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet (2020).

Date Published:

3 August 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many schools to close. However, there is still little data on how SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) spreads among children in schools. In Australia, most schools remained open with smaller class sizes during the first wave of the pandemic. To determine how SARS-CoV-2 transmits among children and staff in schools and early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings, researchers in Australia traced the contacts of children and adults who attended a school or ECEC while they were infectious. Only 1.2% of contacts tested in educational settings with confirmed COVID-19 cases were infected. The findings of this study suggest that, with effective contact-tracing and smaller class sizes, educational settings do not contribute significantly to the spread of COVID-19.

Summary by: Louis Huynh