*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a document supporting the reopening of the nation's schools this fall.
"As families and policymakers make decisions about their children returning to school, it is important to consider the full spectrum of benefits and risks of both in-person and virtual learning options," the agency said.
The COVID-19-related health risks to kids are minimal compared to those faced by adults, the CDC said.
Citing numerous studies, the agency stressed that "the best available evidence indicates if children become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms. Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults."
According to the CDC, just 7% of U.S. COVID-19 cases, and less than 0.1% of related deaths, have occurred in people under the age of 18. And so far in 2020, fewer children have died from COVID-19 than typically die from the flu in a given year.
Kids also appear to transmit the new coronavirus at a lower rate than adults, the CDC said. And as for potential transmission from children to adults, "there have also been few reports of children being the primary source of COVID-19 transmission among family members," the CDC said. "This is consistent with data from both virus and antibody testing, suggesting that children are not the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in the community."
As to the benefits of reopening classrooms, "the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant," the CDC said.
Poor and minority children are especially hurt by school closures, the CDC added.
Then there's the critical importance of the socialization school brings to developing children. According to the CDC, "important social interactions that facilitate the development of critical social and emotional skills are greatly curtailed or limited when students are not physically in school."
School closure and extended home quarantine are even being linked to higher rates of mental health issues in kids, including post-traumatic stress disorder, the CDC said.