Many of our families are wrestling with the decision of whether or not to send their children and teens back to “in person school”. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that each child should be given the opportunity for “in person” school. However, every family is unique and has their own set of Pro’s and Con’s to consider.
• Parents must review the safety guidelines the school has in place:

  • Will social distancing be effective in school and on buses/ carpools?
  • Will a mask be required for all staff and students? Will temperatures be taken for all staff and students? Will hand sanitizer be readily available? How often will the school be sanitized?
  • What measures are being taken to reduce the student population by 50%.
  • Would the child be able to be compliant and wear a mask all day at school?
  • How will lunch and snacks be handled? How will bathroom breaks be handled?
  • Will there be a protocol in place for how to handle staff/ students/ visitors who become ill at school? Contact tracing should be included in the protocol.
  • What contingency plan does the school have in place if schools have to be shut down again?
    • Are there high risk people in the family that may be exposed to COVID by the child, (who could be asymptomatic or symptomatic)?
    • Does the family have a way to care for a child who is ill and needs to be quarantined for 14 days?
    • How will the family distinguish between other illnesses, such as Strep throat, Common colds, Influenza and COVID?
    • What is the emotional state of the child?
  • Does the child feel happy about returning to “in person” school or more anxious about possible COVID exposure?
    • Parents must also review how remote classes will be taught:
  • Does the parent feel confident teaching the class or “co-teaching” with online instruction?
  • Does the family have adequate internet for the student and a laptop? Will the school district provide this equipment?
  • Does the parent have to return to “in person” work leaving no one to care for child or supervise virtual learning?
  • If the child has special needs, will the family be able to provide extra services: Speech therapy, Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, Learning specialist?
    • Special considerations for children with chronic illnesses:
  • Is the child stable and doing well on medication?
  • Will the child need to take a chronic medication at school?
  • Does the child have frequent break through illnesses that puts him at increased risk if exposed to COVID?
  • Is the child medically fragile?

• Family financial considerations:

  • Is the parent able to work from home effectively and provide a quality educational experience for the child who is doing virtual school?
  • If not, would the parent be able to take a leave of absence in order to do so?

If the child/ teen will return to school, cloth masks should be worn. It is important that masks fit correctly covering the nose and mouth, lying flat against the face on the sides with comfortable ear pieces. Children are resilient and can adapt to this new normal. Children should practice wearing a mask at home starting with 30 minutes per day and increasing time to the length of the school day. If the mask fits well, children are less likely to touch the outside. Multiple cloth masks are necessary (ideally 5) and should be washed after wearing all day. Frequent hand washing is essential, as well as the use of hand sanitizer. Every child should have a temperature taken before they leave the house. If the temperature is elevated, then they should stay home.

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