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Report: COVID-19 in schools – the experience in NSW

NCIRS with the support of the NSW Ministry of Health and NSW Department of Education, started an enhanced investigation aiming to understand the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools in NSW in early March. This report summarises the preliminary findings to 21 April 2020.

Summary of findings
  • In NSW, from March to mid-April 2020, 18 individuals (9 students and 9 staff) from 15 schools were confirmed as COVID-19 cases; all of these individuals had an opportunity to transmit the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) to others in their schools.
  • 735 students and 128 staff were close contacts of these initial 18 cases.
  • One child from a primary school and one child from a high school may have contracted COVID-19 from the initial cases at their schools.
  • No teacher or staff member contracted COVID-19 from any of the initial school cases.

Read the full report here

We would like to thank all schools, staff and students and their families who participated in this work, especially those who assisted with the enhanced investigation. 

The NCIRS team working on the COVID-19 schools transmission investigation includes: 
NCIRS core clinical and epidemiological team: Kristine Macartney, Nicholas Wood, Noni Winkler, Helen Quinn, Archana Koirala, Lucy Deng, Catherine Glover and Alexis Pillsbury 
NCIRS interview and home visit team: Rosemary Joyce, Deidre Brogan, Nicole Dinsmore, Ajay Jadhav, Andrew Dunn, Laura Rost, Gemma Saravanos, Lisa Pelayo, Rama Kandasamy and Kathryn Meredith

We also thank our collaborators at the NSW Ministry of Health and Department of Education, NSW Public Health units and NSW Health Pathology at ICPMR Westmead, as listed in the report.