A new study in The Lancet compared daily coronavirus testing in schools to quarantine measures. The study involved 201 schools and 5763 students tested over 6 weeks in the spring of 2021. The schools that had voluntary testing had 61.8 cases of COVID per 100,000 students, while the quarantine-only schools had 59.1 case per 100,000. The rate of transmission to adults was reversed, with 1.34 % of the staff at schools with testing coming down with COVID, and 1.62% of the staff at quarantine schools.
Georgia guidance for childcare facilities is still stuck in the previous science, with entire classrooms being sent home when a single child is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus. The child need not even test positive themselves. Childcare centers must send entire classrooms home, even though K-12 education programs need not quarantine. It is far from clear what science supports that distinction, particularly in light of the continuing crisis in childcare.
Daily contact testing of school-based contacts was non-inferior to self-isolation for control of COVID-19 transmission, with similar rates of symptomatic infections among students and staff with both approaches. Infection rates in school-based contacts were low, with very few school contacts testing positive. Daily contact testing should be considered for implementation as a safe alternative to home isolation following school-based exposures.