Study: 1 in 4 Teachers at Risk for Complications From COVID

The Trump administration has made clear that it wants schools to fully reopen this fall. In response to safety concerns, Trump and his allies argue that children appear to be at decreased risk for complications from COVID-19. That’s generally true. But the argument ignores the millions of teachers and faculty members who come in contact with students every day and could become victims of asymptomatic spread.

A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows the folly of the Trump administration’s argument. It estimates that 1 out of every 4 teachers — about 1.5 million educators — have risk factors that increase the likelihood of severe sickness, hospitalization, or even death from COVID-19. 

Those risk factors include being over the age of 65, having a body mass index (BMI) over 40, and a number of health conditions, including but not limited to diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, or moderate or severe asthma.

If schools reopen without proper safety measures in place, a wave of infections among teachers could result in a logistical nightmare for districts. Worse, it could lead to trauma and loss of life.