Is it safe to send children back to school?
The AAP strongly advocates that all policies for the coming school year should have a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts (anxiety, depression, social withdrawal) on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. In addition to reading, writing and math, children learn social and emotional skills, get exercise and access to mental health support and other things that cannot be provided with online “virtual” learning. For many families, school is where kids get healthy meals, access to the internet, and other vital services. Lengthy time away from school and the interruption of supportive services result in social isolation making it difficult for schools to identify and address these important needs for our kids and teens.
The AAP guidance is based on what pediatricians and infectious disease specialists know about COVID-19 and kids. Evidence so far suggests that children and adolescents are less likely to have symptoms or severe disease from infection. They also appear less likely at this time to become infected or spread the virus.
There are national and state guidelines on how to safely reopen schools that minimize health threats to students and school staff. There is always a risk for contracting and spreading the virus once you engage with others within your community.
Safeguards are in place to minimize the risk such as:
- Physical distancing
- Good hand hygiene
- Wearing masks when feasible
- Monitoring for illness
- Staying home when ill
All these guidelines share the goal of limiting the spread of COVID-19 between individuals as the primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets by persons in close proximity.
If you have additional questions or concerns we’re happy to speak with you. We acknowledge that each family has unique factors that will weigh on this decision and some kids or families may be at increased risk with face to face schooling. If you would like to speak to us regarding these and receive personal advice, please schedule a telemedicine appointment via our website.
Ultimately the decision to send your child back to school vs opting for online school is your choice. Parents must weigh the risks of sending their kids back with their job and financial responsibilities & decide what is best for their family.
The Preston Ridge Team