North Carolina public school teachers' contact patterns and mask use within and outside of school during the prevaccine phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Teachers are central to school-associated transmission networks, but little is known about their behavioral patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 700 North Carolina public school teachers in 4 districts open to in-person learning in November-December 2020 (pre-COVID-19 vaccines). We assessed indoor and outdoor time spent, numbers of people encountered at <6 feet ("close contacts"), and mask use by teachers and those around them at specific locations on the most recent weekday and weekend day. RESULTS: Nearly all respondents reported indoor time at home (98%) and school (94%) on the most recent weekday, while 62% reported indoor time at stores, 18% at someone else's home, and 17% at bars/restaurants. Responses were similar for the most recent weekend day, excepting school (where 5% reported indoor time). Most teachers (>94%) reported wearing masks inside school, stores, and salons; intermediate percentages (∼50%-85%) inside places of worship, bars/restaurants, and recreational settings; and few (<25%) in their or others' homes. Approximately half reported daily close contact with students. CONCLUSIONS: As schools reopened in the COVID-19 pandemic, potential transmission opportunities arose through close contacts within and outside of school, along with suboptimal mask use by teachers and/or those around them. Our granular estimates underscore the importance of multilayered mitigation strategies and can inform interventions and mathematical models addressing school-associated transmission.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Powers, KA; Sullivan, KM; Zadrozny, SL; Shook-Sa, BE; Byrnes, R; Bogojevich, DA; Lauen, DL; Thompson, P; Robinson, WR; Gordon-Larsen, P; Aiello, AE

Published Date

  • June 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 608 - 617

PubMed ID

  • 34971715

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8714247

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-3296

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ajic.2021.12.020


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States