The goal of this study is to determine how many children and staff in Belgian primary and secondary schools developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 as well as the occurrence of new infections in this population over a period of one year. These data allow us to gain more insight in SARS-CoV-2 circulation among children, among school staff and in a school environment. In turn, these insights may help policy makers to formulate targeted advice on infection prevention measures in schools or even on vaccination strategies regarding this population.
The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence and incidence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a representative sample of school-aged children and school staff (primary and first grades of secondary school) in Belgium over a period of one year. Quantifying the seroprevalence and incidence among these interrelated populations can provide insight in infection circulation within both groups as well as highlight potential similarities or differences in transmission dynamics between them.
The study also aims to gather information on the clinical presentation of COVID-19 in school-aged children and evaluate the effect of their behavior (interpersonal contacts, use of public transportation, travel, outside school activities) on infection rates among children. These data may guide the Belgian policy makers in their advices to limit circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in school environments (e.g. establish guidelines regarding infection prevention and control measures in schools) and help them decide over vaccination strategies (in- or excluding children) to create herd immunity.
The protocol will provide you with additional information on the study population, objectives and methods.
This study included 5 testing periods during the school year 2020-2021. The general results of the testing periods can be found in our reports:
- Report of the first testing period (Dec. 2020 — Jan. 2021)
- Report of the second testing period (March 2021)
- Report of the third testing period (May 2021 — June 2021)
- Report of the fourth testing period (Sept. 2021 — Oct. 2021)
- Report of the fifth testing period (December 2021)
A visual overview of the prevalence data during the testing periods can be found on Sciensano’s dashboard. This platform also provides data of other seroprevalence studies implemented by Sciensano in Belgium.