With COVID-19 till in the community, Governor Cuomo has released guidelines for school. Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale breaks down the back-to-school process.
Dr. Gale Burstein says if the schools are able to make these guidelines and we are still in phase 4, the reopening and or prevalence rate of the proportion of positive tests of COVID-19 is under 5% they feel it is safe for kids to return to school. She goes on to say they feel it is really important for kids to return to school. Kids learn much better in classrooms with the teacher right there. It is easier for them to pay attention, ask questions and it is important for their social emotional well-being. We know kids get other things besides just an education at school. At a young age, peer support is developmentally very important. Also, for some kids, home is not a safe place and we know during the time we were virtually teaching the rates of reported child abuse really increased. For many reasons, kids going back to school is very important and it is something they are trying to achieve.
When asked what she, as a parent and pediatrician would say to parents who are really worried about sending their kids back to school. She says she can understand that parents can have some hesitation and fears about sending their kids to school, however, in order for schools to reopen they have to comply with the NY State guidelines and so there will be masking, social distancing, a lot of environmental cleaning. There won’t be large school assemblies. What you are going to be sending your children to is not the same school as when they left in the spring. If parents have concerns they should talk to their pediatrician. There may be specific situations that may change the recommendations so parents should talk to their pediatrician.
We are all a part of this too. We can all help the schools reopen by keeping our COVID-19 numbers down. So that means masking, social distancing, and make sure you don’t go to any large gatherings.
Below are some helpful links: