As parents prepare to send their kids back to school while COVID-19 is still looming large across the globe, they’re tasked with keeping their kids safe during a pandemic with many unknowns. But, as we live in the “new normal,” all we can do is focus on what we do know instead of keeping score of the things we don’t know yet. When it comes to kids and COVID-19, many people are conflicted about how the virus impacts children and if they should send their kid to school.
On one hand, there are parents who are sending their kids to school because they have no other choice (hello childcare!). Plus, according to experts, COVID-19 affects children less than adults even if they are carriers — a piece of information which may give parents solace. Dr. Megan Freeman of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh says fewer than .5 percent of infected kids have died from COVID-19, which she believes is due to children social distancing under their parent’s supervision. Most schools, too, are taking every precaution to ensure their facilities are clean, well-ventilated, and safe for students’ return.
Still, what does this mean for teachers who can catch the virus and show harsher symptoms than their classmates? According to Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, chief of critical care at Texas Children’s Hospital, kids can even unknowingly spread the virus because their symptoms are mild. If a child doesn’t show symptoms but is still a carrier, how will schools know to send them home and prevent others from becoming ill? That may be the greatest unknown of them all, which puts administrators and parents in a tough spot.
Since doctors are seeing older age groups contracting the virus, this may mean that teens are not social distancing and will come to school after socializing in close quarters with friends. It’s easier to control who kids come in contact with after school hours, but teens, not so much.
Equipped with the knowledge you have now from experts — would you still feel comfortable sending your kid to school in the fall?
Before you go, check out the best kids face masks you (probably) won’t have to wrestle on to tiny faces: