What We're Reading: School Closures' Impact on COVID-19; Baylor Mandates Testing; Grants Awarded to Study Gun Violence

July 30, 2020

A study outlines the association between early school closures and reduced coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidence and mortality; Baylor University will ship COVID-19 testing kits to all students expected to return to campus in the fall; the National Collaborative on Gun Violence awarded $7.5 million in grants to fund research on the crisis.

School Closures Associated With Reduced COVID-19 Incidence, Mortality

A new study found a temporal association between statewide school closures and lower coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidence and mortality during the early stages of the global pandemic. The population-based time series study, published in JAMA, analyzed incidence and mortality of COVID-19 from March 9, 2020, to May 7, 2020. Researchers found school closures were associated with an adjusted relative change per week of —62% in COVID-19 incidence and –58% in mortality. Models found that school closures, when the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was in the lowest quartile, were associated with 128.7 fewer cases per 100,000 population over 26 days.

Baylor University Mandates COVID-19 Testing for Students

Baylor University will mail students COVID-19 test kits that must be completed and yield negative results before students return to campus in the fall, The Hill reports. The school, based in Texas, will begin mailing out the kits next week and will not exempt students who wish to opt out from taking the tests. Currently, the CDC does not recommend testing for all returning students and faculty as part of reopening plans for in-person instruction. Texas is one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic, as recent numbers show cases have surpassed those recorded in New York, the previous epicenter of the pandemic.

Grants Will Fund Research on Gun Violence

Amid recent reports of surging gun violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Collaborative on Gun Violence announced it would award $7.5 million in new funding for gun policy research. The funding will support projects aimed at filling data gaps on risk factors for gun suicide, in addition to urban gun violence among youths and veterans. Funds will be utilized by a variety of experts spanning several fields including sociology, psychology, social welfare, public health, and epidemiology. In December, the federal government allocated funds to the National Institutes of Health and CDC to conduct research on gun violence, marking the first time the issue would be federally funded in 2 decades.