Report: 1 in 4 teachers in U.S. at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with COVID-19

Handwritten 'You must wear a face mask sign' are seen in the windows of a public school in the Greenwich Village as the city moves into Phase 3 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on July 8, 2020 in New York

According to a report released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one in four of the nation’s teachers are at greater risk of serious illness if infected with the new coronavirus.

The foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy, looked at a number of factors identified by the CDC that put people at increased risk of serious illness if infected, including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, moderate or severe asthma, having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 40, or having a compromised immune system, which for example, may occur during cancer treatment. Being age 65 and older also is considered to be a risk factor. 

The report found that 1.47 million teachers and other instructors have a condition that puts them at higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus. 

“This percentage is the same as the one we found for workers overall; the challenge for school systems and for teachers in particular is the sheer volume of traffic and tight quarters in many school environments, which may make social distancing a significant challenge in many settings. For higher-risk teachers, failure to achieve safe working conditions could have very serious results,” the Kaiser Family Foundation said.

The report comes as President Donald Trump continues to push for schools across the nation to reopen in the fall, even threatening to cut federal aid to schools that don’t reopen.

Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City’s schools will reopen in September, but the United Federation of Teachers called the plan premature.


Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. It is FREE!

Download for iOS or Android