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As COVID Cases Rise In Schools, Many Are Linked To Community Spread

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WBZ-TV's Paul Burton reports.

Video Transcript

- Lisa, the CDC has released some new school guidelines, saying that students can safely sit three feet apart in class rather than six feet. That's what the Massachusetts Education Department was already recommending. Yesterday, we learned there had been a sharp increase in school cases. But as WBZ's Paul Burton explains, many of them are being traced to sources outside of the classroom.

PAUL BURTON: The number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts has gone up for the second week in a row.

ANGELA KELLY: I'm not nervous, no. I feel like if the kids are wearing their mask and doing what they're supposed to do, you know, I think they'll be safe.

PAUL BURTON: Are you glad they're doing pool testing?

ANGELA KELLY: Yeah, I think it's a good idea. Yeah, it doesn't hurt.

PAUL BURTON: Health officials say 26 Braintree students tested positive, but most of the cases can be traced back to a recent youth cheerleading training facility in Weymouth.

CHARLES KOKOROS: Our health department and all the health departments associated with this cluster are working day and night to make sure they identify all the close contacts and the positive cases so that they can protect the other kids from it.

SHIRA DORON: I'm not surprised nor am I particularly worried based on numbers alone.

PAUL BURTON: Dr. Shira Doron of Tufts Medical Center says, the more school districts participate in pool testing, the more positive cases will be reported.

SHIRA DORON: You will always see more cases when you do more testing. That's the nature of this disease that has such an enormous proportion of its cases being asymptomatic and does not necessarily have any bearing on or nor does it reflect danger in the building.

PAUL BURTON: Parents picking up their kids at East Middle School in Braintree are very comfortable with having their kids back in the classroom.

DANNY RYAN: Kids are suffering, I mean, not going to school. The price you're paying for that is worse than taking a risk and getting COVID, which hardly any kids get.

ANGELA KELLY: Socializing-- they need that. They need to be seeing other kids.

PAUL BURTON: Elementary schools in Massachusetts are supposed to have full in-person learning, five days a week, beginning Monday, April 5. Middle schools are supposed to begin Wednesday, April 28. No date has been set for high schools. In Braintree, I'm Paul Burton, WBZ News.