Intermountain Healthcare

Is it safe to send children back to school right now?

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(Good Things Utah) – Dr. Neal Davis, a pediatrician and medical director of pediatric community-based care for Intermountain Healthcare joined Surae Chinn to discuss how to prevent children from spreading COVID-19 in schools.

Currently, children account for about 25 percent of Utah’s COVID-19 infections. While flu was largely non-existent last year, this year could bring many cases, on top of COVID-19 and RSV, another serious respiratory infection affecting young children at a rate of about 300 cases per week, according to GermWatch.org. So the question comes up: s it safe to send my child to school?

There isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” answer to this question.

Because coronavirus spreads from person-to-person contact, there is a chance that your child could get or spread the virus while at school. There are ways to lower the chances of getting COVID-19; however, it’s up to you as the parent or caretaker to understand the risks and to decide if the benefits of in-person schooling are greater than the risks.

Risk is the possibility that something will go wrong. Use the table below to help identify some areas of risk for your family. If you have several answers in the “Higher Risk” column, you may want to consider homeschool until the risks improve or can be better managed.

If you do choose to send your kids back to school, make sure to take the appropriate steps. Prepare your child or adolescent to go back to school safely by reinforcing these 4 key behaviors:

  1. Wear a mask while in school and around others.
  2. Keep 6 feet away from others if possible.
  3. Wash hands often.
  4. Stay home when sick. Keep your child home if they have a fever of 100.4° F (38.0° C) or higher, or have any symptoms of COVID-19.

To date, school-aged children and adolescents are less likely to have symptoms or become seriously ill from COVID-19. While this is good for children, it’s important to remember:

  • Children with COVID-19 can become very ill. In addition to possible flu-like symptoms, some children get MIS-C or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. This is a new and serious health condition related to COVID-19.
  • Children with COVID-19 can unknowingly spread the infection to parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, and others.

If someone in close contact with your child becomes sick with COVID-19, your child will have to quarantine for 14 days.

If your child has a confirmed case of COVID-19, they must self-isolate. Self-isolation means staying home and avoid others. During self-isolation, your child should only leave home to get medical care.

To learn more, visit Intermountain Healthcare.

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