Back to School 2020: A Physician’s Guide

Children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

Children return to school with face masks after Summer Covid-19 quarantine and lockdowns.

The decision for schools to return to in-person attendance has been looming in the back of parents, teachers and administrator’s minds over each summer month that has ticked by. With the states and countries that have reopened, they have seen almost immediate setbacks and infection rates arise. With those that have removed the decision completely from parents to send their kids back or not, they have received much backlash from their enrollees. The tug-a-war of information and lack of consistency amongst these crucial decisions are enough to make any parent, confident or concerned, worried of what will happen in this upcoming school year. As we cope with the enormous list of pros and cons of our children’s return to school, let’s take a moment to revert to the absolute basics and the decisions we know we can control regardless of what is being ruled for us.

Meet Dr. Geeta Nayyar, M.D., M.B.A., an overly qualified and nationally respected physician that has lead the largest corporations in the Health sector and multinational companies, like Salesforce and AT&T, to bridge the gap between medical information systems and it’s relation to hospital operations and improved patient care. She knows her stuff, and she has three recommendations for you to keep in mind to rest assure you are making the best decision for your own family’s unique situation.

  1. Local and State Vital Check

Take a high-level pulse check of how your local and state governments are handling the infection rates and executing operations to decrease them. How is testing in your area? How is the hospital bed availability? Is the contact tracing programs robust and accurate? If your location is struggling with high infection rates and all of the major criteria to decrease them listed above, then your kid’s individual school will struggle with it too. Try not to think of you children’s learning space as an exception and keep your little ones home until the area around you is controlling contagion up to your comfortability.

  1. School Protocol and Screening

Look and ask beyond your school’s increased public relation campaigns to reassure you and every other parent that they are clean and prepared. Dive into the nitty gritty and paint the picture of their overall dedication to fighting the spread of this infection with screening protocols, cleaning frequencies, and ventilation systems. Are they using hybrid-learning models this Fall? What are your main objectives that they are either meeting or not for you to feel comfortable enough to return your child to in-person learning.

  1. Your Unique Household Security

Is your household equipped with resources to take on the potential risks of someone getting infected with Covid? There is always a chance of your child bringing the virus home, and the health of the entire household needs to be taken into consideration as you decide to send your child back. Do you live with senior citizens or with someone with health restrictions?  How is your health coverage and access to health care? What is covered and what is not? Covering every base with those outside of the school system is necessary to ensure matters do not exceed beyond the worry of exposing your child in large populations again.

If you have justified this check list and do feel comfortable enough to send your children back with the others, the next important step is to communicate well and communicate frequently with your youngsters about healthy habits and hygiene. Talk and continue to reinstate the high importance of social distancing to the best of their ability, washing hands, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching their faces and wearing a mask when returning to their classmates! We will all benefit from thinking through our decisions and being consciously aware of what may result of them during this unusual and tricky time, and this will only influence your children to do the same. Every effort counts, and we are truly all in this together.

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