ATLANTA (WIVB) — In a new update encouraging schools to reopen, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) say children are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms of COVID-19.

In an update called “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall,” the CDC says “the best available evidence” leads to this conclusion.

As of July 17, people in the United States who are younger than 18 account for less than seven percent of COVID-19 cases, and less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths.

“Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults,” the CDC wrote.

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, 64 children have died from COVID-19, which is less than each of the past five flu seasons. Still, kids with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of suffering a severe illness.

They went on to talk about children’s social, emotional and behavioral health, which they say are significantly harmed by schools being closed.

The CDC also says children’s behavioral health, economic well-being and academic achievement is harmed in the short- and long-term.

“Further, the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms low-income and minority children and those living with disabilities,” the CDC wrote. “These students are far less likely to have access to private instruction and care and far more likely to rely on key school-supported resources like food programs, special education services, counseling, and after-school programs to meet basic developmental needs.”

The CDC says in-classroom instruction does the following:

  • provides educational instruction;
  • supports the development of social and emotional skills;
  • creates a safe environment for learning;
  • addresses nutritional needs; and
  • facilitates physical activity.

UPDATE | Read the new information from the CDC here.