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URGENT CARE ASSOCIATION


 

Within this page, you will find Industry Perspective blogs written by the UCA Corporate Support Partners (CSP); Insights from UCA Chief Executive Officer Lou Ellen Horwitz; Practice Management blogs to help you better manage center operations; and bonus UCA education in Educational Insights.

 

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS: Going to School and COVID-19: What to Know

Posted: Aug 26, 2020
Comments: 0
Author: UCA Admin

Content provided by Thomas W. Tryon, MD, MBA, FAAP; UCA Pediatric Section Chair

Summer is drawing to a close and with it children are excited and ready to return to school.  COVID-19 and the risk of spread has caused significant challenges for school systems worried about how to allow classroom learning to resume yet in a safe manner.  Without a doubt, many children learn best and thrive while they are in school.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:  ​”Schools provide more than just academics to children and adolescents. In addition to reading, writing and math, students learn social and emotional skills, get exercise, and have access to mental health support and other services that cannot be provided with online learning. For many children and adolescents, schools are safe places to be while parents or guardians are working.  For many families, schools are where kids get healthy meals, access to the internet and other vital services.

​The pandemic has been especially hard for Black, Latinx, and Native American/Alaska Native children and adolescents, and those living in low-income families.  One in 5 teens cannot complete schoolwork at home because they do not have a computer or internet connection.”1 

The AAP has some recommendations on what schools can do to increase the chances of children returning to school in a safe manner.  These include:

  • Physical distancing:  The goal is still for adults and students to stay at least 6 feet apart.  However, keeping desks 3 feet apart and avoiding close contact may have similar benefit as long as children do not have Covid-19 symptoms and as long as they are wearing a cloth face covering.  There are also recommendations for teachers and staff that they should stay six feet apart, wear cloth face coverings, and avoid in-person meetings and congregating in areas such as staff lounges.  Outdoor spaces should also be utilized as much as possible to help with social distancing during meals, band, singing and exercising.
  • Cloth face coverings and hand hygiene:  The AAP recommends face coverings for all children over 2 years of age.  Children younger than two are at risk of choking if they are wearing a mask.  We know that cloth face coverings are safe to wear for long periods of time.  Additionally, frequent hand washing for an appropriate period of time (I recommend singing the “ABC song”) is also beneficial for everyone. 
  • Classroom changes:  Another recommendation is to have schools consider having teachers transfer between classrooms instead of having children move between classrooms during the school day.  This would decrease congregating in the hallways and would increase social distancing.  Allowing students to eat lunch at their desk and keeping the doors to the rooms open would also decrease exposures.      
  • What to do if there is a school exposure:  With children returning to school, schools must have a plan for how to respond if there is a student or teacher who has a laboratory-confirmed infection consistent with COVID-19.   If a student, teacher or staff member had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 (with close contact being defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) they should quarantine for 14 days from the day they were in close contact.

The AAP also offers information on what to do should a student or staff member become ill at school and how to protect school nurses; recommendations on utilizing buses, hallways and playgrounds more safely and effectively; as well as tips on the special needs of children with high risk medical conditions or disabilities.  It also is important for schools to continue to recognize their importance in providing nutrition for students as well as providing behavioral and emotional support during these stressful times.  According to the AAP: “Returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic may not feel like normal – at least for a while. But whatever form school takes, it will require everyone's support to make sure that it is healthy, safe and equitable for students, teachers, staff and families.”1

1https://healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Return-to-School-During-COVID-19.aspx  

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