The UK and California strains of the coronavirus have been detected in Boise area wastewater, according to Central District Health. These variants could make reopening schools more challenging.
The CDC reports the UK variant is more contagious than other strains. Dr. David Pate, a member of the Idaho Coronavirus Taskforce, told Idaho Matters studies also show children are a target of this variant.
“The highest attack rate is in children five to nine years old,” he said. “That's very different than what we've dealt with.”
While companies are researching vaccines for children, there are currently none available for the public.
Dr. Pate says schools played a factor in the spread in the UK. And as classrooms in Idaho consider reopening, strict COVID-19 protocols need to be followed.
“If you listen to the UK, their primary warning is distance, distance, distance,” he said.
Idaho needs to plan ahead and suggests a pause on bringing in-person classes back where distancing isn’t possible, Dr. Pate added.
“We've got to think of other ideas besides just bringing all the kids back and don't worry about distancing, and then let this virus run loose.”
Dr. Pate says low vaccination rates make in-person learning still risky.
Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio