Back to School

Posted on: 07/22/2020

- The AAP has put out guidance stating the importance of having children attend school in-person whenever possible, and we agree with that statement. Being physically present at school is important to a child's academic development, but is also key for their social-emotional development and mental health. While we must be cautious about spreading COVID in the community, there is a real risk to children missing out on in-person school as well.

- We expect that CDC guidelines will be used by schools to mitigate the risk of COVID transmission among students, and it is reassuring that data continue to show that children are at very low risk of serious disease from COVID, especially in elementary school age and younger. There is also some evidence that children are less likely to transmit disease to others. Here is a link to the American Academy of Pediatrics positions on the topic:
https://healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Return-to-School-During-COVID-19.aspx

- Face masks are a key part of the guidelines for safe return to school, and we do not have any safety concerns for their use in children all day for school attendance, even if your child has a condition such as asthma. Children <2 yrs="" of="" age="" or="" who="" are="" neurologically="" compromised="" may="" have="" difficulty="" wearing="" removing="" masks="" without="" assistance="" so="" their="" use="" in="" these="" groups="" is="" not="" recommended="" p="">

- There are some conditions which may put your child, or a close family member, at risk for severe disease from COVID. If your child or a close relative with frequent contact has one of these conditions, this may be a reason to choose virtual learning and we suggest you discuss this with the specialist guiding their care. If you do not have a specialist or would also like to speak with one of our providers, we are available by phone as well. These conditions may include:
- Diabetes
- Chronic/complex kidney disease
- Complex heart disease (excluding innocent heart murmurs)
- Complex neurologic conditions
- Chronic lung disease (COPD, pulmonary malformations, moderate to severe asthma; generally mild asthma is NOT included)
- Obesity
- History of organ transplant
- Compromised immune system from other underlying condition or medication

- It is important to remember that while schools will try to take every precaution possible to reduce transmission of COVID, returning to in-person school will not be risk-free, and you have to decide what is best for your family and your child in terms of in-person vs. virtual learning for the fall.

-Confirm that your child's immunizations are up to date. As always, we encourage everyone to get the influenza vaccine this year, but it is especially critical this year for those returning to school or participating in activities outside the home.

-Recommendations may change based on prevalence of the virus in the area. It is also important to be flexible and have a back-up plan in place should your school need to transition to remote learning.

-The following are some safety factors schools are putting in place. You can check with your school to see if any of the following are in the plans for reopening:
-Physical distancing
-Frequent hand hygiene
-Cloth face coverings (in school and on buses)
-Utilize outside space when possible
-Lunch in room or small groups outside
-Temperature checks (home and/or school). Fever is considered temperature of 100.4 F or greater
-Sanitizing classrooms and high touch surfaces
-Minimize use of high touch surfaces (such as keeping classroom doors open)

-Keep your child home if s/he or any family member has any illness symptoms.

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