Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Frylooz) – “Are you going to take your children back to school”, says Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Frylooz’s chief health correspondent?
As the father of three teenage girls and one girl, this was an ongoing discussion in his home, and it was difficult to make any decision.
Gupta explained that his daughters want to return to school, and they put tremendous pressure on him to agree to that, as they miss their friends and the social structure that children need and yearn for at this stage of life.
Virtual learning has played an important role for them, but it is not a substitute for learning on the ground, especially for younger children. Given the current situation, his children will start the new school year next week, Gupta said.
Gupta pointed out that many schools across the United States have already made the decision for students, as at least 63 of the country’s 101 school districts have decided to start the school year with virtual learning.
There are other school districts that have decided to bring children to school, although many offer default options.
As for the school of his children, it left the choice to families, and despite that difficult, Gupta says he is grateful to have a choice, noting that families across the country are struggling to get childcare, technology and even food, all of which can make a physical comeback. School is essential.
A few weeks ago, Gupta and his family began looking at current data and standards to come up with the best science-based option to decide whether his daughters would return to school.
Gupta visited his girls’ school and spent time with the principal to understand the safety precautions they were taking, and they were largely in line with the recommendations of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There will be mandates to wear a mask, and plans to implement physical distancing, hand disinfection, and frequent disinfection of outdoor surfaces and classes when possible. Students will also have lunch in the classroom, and there will not be any large gatherings,” Gupta said.
While physical distancing is the most difficult challenge, Gupta explains that the school has creatively made use of spaces in libraries, gyms and cafeterias to obtain the space needed to try to tackle this. They have made an effort over the past few months, indicating that none of this will succeed if students do not strive to follow these practices in buses, corridors, and classrooms.
Last week, the school took an extra step to test all students, faculty and staff, and results were available within 96 hours, Gupta said. His daughters’ test results were negative, which may provide a kind of reassurance for children who choose to go to school as students who test positive will be required to isolate at home.
Gupta indicated that he is fully aware that this type of “confirmation” test is still not sufficiently available in America, and it is not an ideal tool, as some tests are known to give a large amount of false negative results, depending on the type of examination and when it is performed. . And while someone may test negative today, there is no guarantee that they will not be positive for the virus the next day.
Currently, much of the back-to-school discussion revolves around the risks to children’s health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the largest pediatric study outside China found that 90% of children with “Covid-19” showed mild or moderate symptoms, while 4% of them were completely without symptoms, and 6% of them were infected. Seriously ill.
By the first week of August, 90 children had died in the United States from “Covid-19”, which is less than 1% of all deaths, according to an analysis by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
As of 6 August, at least 570 children across the country had MDS, ranging in age from 1 to 20 years, and about two-thirds of these children had no underlying conditions before they were diagnosed with MDS. .
Gupta stresses that although children are less likely to contract “Covid-19” disease, compared to adults, they do not have immunity from infection. They can transmit the infection quickly.
Gupta pointed to a study widely cited in South Korea that children between the ages of 10 to 19 transmit the virus just as much as adults. And they had the highest rate of transmission of “Covid-19” among contacts at home. The same study found that children under the age of 10 were not responsible for a significant amount of the virus’s spread.
The results of the study were surprising to Gupta, as a recent study, published in the “JAMA Pediatrics” medical journal, concluded that younger children may carry more amounts of the virus in their noses, compared to adults.
And Gupta noted that the South Korean study included fewer than 30 positive cases younger than 10 years old. Of the nearly 60,000 contacts tracked in that study, only 237 of them were children under the age of 10. The low prevalence is probably not among young children because they are less likely to transmit the virus, but because they have been largely at home over the past few months, and have had few contacts as a result.
Gupta also noted that with the increase in the movement of children, there is no doubt that the rates of HIV infection will increase. Over the past four weeks, the number of infected children in the United States has increased by 90% to more than 380,000 cases, and while some of this increase may be due to increased testing, younger children who are starting out have a role as well, and in most parts of the country. Schools have not reopened yet.
It is also important to remember that the school community is not made up of young students, Gupta said, and a new analysis has found that about a quarter of teachers in the US school system are at greater risk of developing severe Covid-19 disease, due to age or pre-existing conditions.
Gupta explained that it is still worrying to return students to an environment where infection is spreading in the community, noting that when the children were withdrawn from school in mid-March, there were fewer than 5,000 known cases in the United States. Now, school districts are considering reopening their doors as more than 5 million people have been infected and more than 164,000 have died in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Over the past few weeks, several clues have emerged as to what might happen when schools begin to reopen, with around 260 participants at a summer overnight camp in North Georgia infected with the infection, although the CDC indicated that some may have contracted disease. Covid-19 is another way.
A Georgia state high school has temporarily closed after at least 14 cases of coronavirus in its first week. Another school in Dallas, Georgia, opened its doors and closed after 6 students and 3 faculty members were injured. Their plan is to reopen the school after it has been sterilized, although it is not clear how much difference that will happen, as there are no mask requirements, and sneezing or coughing again could contaminate the classroom.
Gupta stressed that there is a lot to be taken into account, but the evidence was clear to his family after considering all the objective criteria and assessing the situation in their community, and the decision was made to keep his daughters out of school for the time being, noting that it was a decision that reduces the risk of infection spreading.
Gupta added that he would allow his daughters to meet their new teachers on the ground before starting to interact with them virtually, indicating that he would reassess the situation after two weeks to understand the triggers in his girls ’school in terms of infection or newly diagnosed diseases, which would require returning to virtual learning.
Full and honest transparency from everyone will be more necessary than ever.
“Some families may come to a different conclusion after looking at the same data, and in the era of Covid-19, it seems that we will all have to become epidemiologists and be the best parents we can,” Gupta said.