Today, we complete our two-part series on understanding the aspects of COVID-19. From further understanding this virus, we are able to make educated decisions about our daily activities- such as safely attending school. Part two of this series will cover going back to school and what to do if your child has been exposed to COVID-19.
Watch this video as Dr. Huitink covers both of these topics!
Should your child return to school?
For many households, you may be in the process of determining what returning school is going to look like for your family in the next few weeks. I have compiled some research and studies for you that I feel may help you as you make that decision.
I recently watched a Facebook live video of Sumner County School’s re-entry plan, I am very impressed with the choice to make the policies flexible based on the transmission within individual communities, schools, and even classrooms. I believe this will enable us to best serve the individual needs of each student and family. I feel that they have done an excellent job of supporting the academic, social, and nutritional needs of their students.
It is vital that I mention once again, this is an individual decision. You must decide what is best for YOUR family, whether that is going to school, homeschooling, or virtual school.
Physician, Tracy Høeg with a PhD in Epidemiology compiled research on the relationship between children and COVID-19. Based on scientific studies and research, here are some important things you should know:
- Kids 13-14 and below (likely around puberty) do not appear to be driving the spread of COVID. They rarely (one can never say never) transmit the disease. Tracing the source case with 100% certainty can be very challenging, but the data overall indicate pediatric transmission to be quite rare compared with adults.
- Kids up to 18 years of age tend to get mild sickness if any symptoms and death in this age group is less likely than getting hit by lightning. (though as we see higher prevalence in the US, the numbers will be rising)
- In school settings, adults can and will give to adults and kids, so teachers need to be socially distancing while at work. Adults also should be wearing masks and getting tested and staying home if they have symptoms.
- Data and guidelines from Holland suggest distancing among children under the age of 14 may not be necessary. And reopening of schools in Scandinavia has been successful even without children wearing masks. It should be pointed out that these countries opened schools as the FIRST step of reopening their economy and as stated above, the wearing of masks in elementary schools by students could further decrease any risk of transmission in the US.
- I have previously discussed the many downsides of not having kids in school in person this fall: further entrenching socioeconomic disparities, job loss for parents who can’t afford childcare worsening poverty and neglect, abuse of children (which will be underreported), lack of support for children with special needs, anxiety, depression and lack of physical activity and peer relationships in children. The list goes on and on. But I want this post to focus more on the science of the disease so it can inform our public policy decisions.
- I hope the above data are reassuring. The more we know, the better we can tackle and live with this disease.
View this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics as it explains the recommendation for School Re-Entry:
As mentioned in the video, there was a study done in Korea on the reopening of schools. To read more about that, click here!
Studies on the return to school in Germany- click here!
I will conclude this section by stating once again, this is not a simple decision for our counties and school boards. We know that there is a tremendous social cost and risk within some families and children and I believe it will be in the best interest of many to return to school. Personally, my family is returning to school the first week of August. This is not a decision my family has made lightly, but with the right tools (see this blog post) I believe we can safely send our children back to school!
What to do if your child is exposed to COVID-19:
Per the CDC, if you have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you should self-quarantine for 14 days due to the time it takes for the virus to develop.
It is important to note what qualifies “being in contact”. Per the CDC:
- The individual must be within 6 feet of the COVID positive individual
- The individual must be in contact for 15 minutes or longer
- If BOTH of these are true, the recommendation is that the individual self-quarantine for 14 days.
You are welcome to be tested, however it is not recommended as of now. This is because if you are in contact with a positive case, you are to quarantine for 14 days- regardless if you were to test positive or negative.
Lastly, I really believe that we all must look out for not only our interests but for the interests of others. I know that not everyone is going to agree with the measures that our schools are taking or with the COVID-19 protocol set in place. I do believe that these protocols have been established with the best interest in mind for our children, families, and communities.
Know that if you feel you would like further assistance in processing some of these decisions, I would be happy to schedule a time to do so. Contact our office at 615-461-0656!