Lakeside Pediatrics’ and the AAP’s Recommendations for Schools
Posted on July 19th, 2021 to Uncategorized
Today the American Academy of Pediatrics published its recommendations for schools in the autumn of 2021 (covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools). We fully agree with those recommendations.
Schools should be opened for in-person learning. Remote learning contributes to social isolation, depression, suicidality, substance abuse, and educational and social disparity. Research has shown, as was the case in our community, that in-person learning with appropriate infection prevention measures, did not increase risk of COVID-19 transmission over that of the general public.
Children aged 12 years and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are medically able to. The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective, even against the Delta variant. The Delta variant, which will be predominant by August, is twice as contagious as the original strain of coronavirus. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is very safe. We hope that children ages 5-12 will be able to get COVID-19 immunization by the end of the year.
All children and adults should get their routine immunizations. The last thing we need is an outbreak of another vaccine preventable disease on top of COVID.
Schools should adopt a universal masking policy. Research has shown clearly that masking prevents COVID-19 infections. When not all students are eligible for a COVID-19 immunization, it is only fair that we protect them by having all adults and children in schools wear masks. Masks also prevent spread of typical cold viruses and other common illnesses that would make kids miss school and parents miss work.
Schools should continue their social distancing and disinfection policies. Students and parents should be honest in reporting symptoms of illness to their school nurses.
In Vermont, we are enjoying the benefits of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country. Many of our social lives are almost completely back to normal. However, with much of the country lighting up with a wave of Delta variant COVID-19 infections, it will certainly be coming to our town by the time school starts. Now is not the time to throw caution to the wind. We need to be bring all of the kids back to school in the safest possible way, vaccinated, and masked, if we hope to endure this pandemic.