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Front Public Health ; 9: 780039, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608013


Introduction: With the increased emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the impact on schools and preschools remains a matter of debate. To ensure that schools and preschools are kept open safely, the identification of factors influencing the extent of outbreaks is of importance. Aim: To monitor dynamics of COVID-19 infections in schools and preschools and identify factors influencing the extent of outbreaks. Methods: In this prospective observational study we analyzed routine surveillance data of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, from calendar week (CW) 32, 2020 to CW19, 2021 regarding SARS-CoV-2 infection events in schools and preschools considering changes in infection control measures over time. A multivariate linear regression model was fitted to evaluate factors influencing the number of students, teachers and staff tested positive following index cases in schools and preschools. Due to an existing multicollinearity in the common multivariate regression model between the variables "face mask obligation for children" and "face mask obligation for adults", two further separate regression models were set up (Multivariate Model Adults and Multivariate Model Children). Results: We observed a significant increase in secondary cases in preschools in the first quarter of 2021 (CW8 to CW15, 2021), and simultaneously a decrease in secondary cases in schools. In multivariate regression analysis, the strongest predictor of the extent of the outbreaks was the teacher/ caregiver mask obligation (B = -1.9; 95% CI: -2.9 to -1.0; p < 0.001). Furthermore, adult index cases (adult only or child+adult combinations) increased the likelihood of secondary cases (B = 1.3; 95% CI: 0.9 to 1.8; p < 0.001). The face mask obligation for children also showed a significant reduction in the number of secondary cases (B = -0.6; 95% CI: -0.9 to -0.2; p = 0.004. Conclusion: The present study indicates that outbreak events at schools and preschools are effectively contained by an obligation for adults and children to wear face masks.

COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Schools , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Child, Preschool , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Germany , Humans , Masks , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2