Most COVID-19 cases in schools are not transmitted in the classroom, says Dr. Lutz

Kid Student School Desk

SPOKANE, Wash. — Schools across the Inland Northwest may not be the COVID-19 super-spreader events people feared they might be.

NPR reported Wednesday that few links have been found by researchers between in-person schooling and COVID-19 transmission.

County health officer Dr. Bob Lutz told 4 News Now that he has seen evidence that this is the case in Spokane, too.

“I think that’s an encouraging finding we’re seeing nationally in some communities where you’ve had very much in-person learning,” said Dr. Lutz. “We’re not seeing significant spread or degree of spread we thought we may have seen.”

While COVID-19 spikes have been found at schools across the Inland Northwest, the majority of those cases are coming in from outside the classroom — meaning that transmission in the classroom has been, so far, effectively kept down.

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“What we’re seeing locally is somewhat reflective of that. We’re certainly seeing cases that occur within schools,” Dr. Lutz explained. “We’re seeing, more times than not, cases that come into the school, moreso than transmission within the school; and I think that reflects the great work school districts [and] private schools are doing.”

The main problem is transmission outside of school, where social distancing and face masks might not be enforced as strongly as in school — an issue which has left hundreds of people in Eastern Washington and North Idaho in quarantine.

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“It’s those behaviors out of schools, out of those controlled settings that cause the disease and cause the infection to go into schools,” said Dr. Lutz.