CDC study: Teachers appear to spread COVID-19 more than students

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Centers for Disease Control reports that teachers are driving the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms, not students.

In a study, nine different outbreaks at schools in Georgia were evaluated.

The findings suggest that the most common transmission was from teacher to teacher.

"The findings also highlight the importance of scaling up vaccination efforts across the country, including the continued need to prioritize teachers and other school staff for vaccination as part of the frontline essential workers, consistent with the recommendation of the advisory committee on immunization practices," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

In New Mexico, educators are not eligible to receive the vaccine unless they have certain health conditions or are 75 years or older.

The state Department of Health says many educators have already been vaccinated because of their age or health conditions.

Albuquerque Public Schools does not plan to open its classrooms to in-person instruction unless Bernalillo County is in green or more teachers can get vaccinated.

A spokesperson for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the state is following the CDC’s guidance which also puts teachers in the 1B category.

"I want to emphasize that while CDC’s operational strategy does provide for in-person instruction during all levels of community spread, the safest and quickest way to open schools and keep them open is to have as little COVID-19 in the community as possible, enabling schools to open and remain open is therefor a shared responsibility," said Walensky.

KOB 4 asked the representative with the New Mexico Department of Health whether the study showing teachers are driving the spread of the virus in classrooms changes the timeline for getting teachers vaccinated.

The spokesperson said, "The state is eager to vaccinate everyone who wishes to be vaccinated, and we are doing so faster than 47 states. We remain constrained by the vaccine supply we receive from the federal government.”

The spokesperson also said it could be another month before the state move into the next sub category, which includes teachers, staff and other frontline essential workers.