CDC says proper precautions result in few COVID-19 cases in schools; cites Polk wrestling tournament

A new CDC study released Tuesday focuses on the risk of COVID outbreaks at schools where students follow safety guidelines. Officials suggest that with proper safety protocols, there’s relatively little risk of a serious outbreak in schools.

In a separate report from the CDC, the agency said two Florida high school wrestling tournaments from early December turned into a super-spreader event, resulting in at least 79 positive cases and one death. Masks weren’t used because of choking hazards during wrestling.

The outbreak led the Polk County School District to suspend all sports later that month. By that point, at least two dozen student-athletes had tested positive for the coronavirus following the tournaments.

The outbreak also resulted in cases among basketball, soccer, cheerleading, and weightlifting teams, along with their families. The study on the Polk County wrestling event can be found here.

Beloved Mulberry High School employee dies from COVID-19 

Maria Hernandez, 55, is believed to be the first person in the Polk County School District to die from the virus. A wrestling tournament may be to blame.

The latest study looks at schools in rural Wisconsin and found cases linked to in-school transmission were very low even while infections were common in the same communities.

Margaret Honein of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, "Data has really accumulated over the last few months that with good prevention efforts ... we can keep transmission in schools quite low."

The Wisconsin study was published online Tuesday by a CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It focused on 17 schools in Wood County in central Wisconsin and found cases were diagnosed at rate 37% lower than reported in the county overall.

Doctors confident same mask effective against new virus variant

While it may take a smaller amount of the new COVID-19 strain to cause an infection, it does not appear to be any better at getting through masks when worn by a virus carrier.

In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Honein and other CDC scientists say it’s re-assuring that the kind of spread seen in nursing homes and other places hasn’t been noted in schools with prevention measures.

However, they say some extracurricular school-related activities, such as sports, have triggered coronavirus spread in some places.

In light of the second study, the CDC said when COVID transmission is high, schools should postpone high-contact athletic activities where it’s not possible to wear masks. 

FOX News contributed to this report.