One of the biggest questions many parents are asking right now is “Should I send my kids back to school?”
On Wednesday, Golisano Children’s Hospital hosted a virtual town hall to answer your questions.
The Golisano Children’s Hospital stressed that symptoms children experience from the coronavirus are mild and they recover much better than adults, but does that mean it’s safe for them to step back into the classroom?
“If your child is old enough to be able to wear a mask correctly, practice good hand hygiene, and has the discipline to social distance, they’re going to be just as safe in school as they’re going to be anywhere else,” said Armando Llechu, chief administrative officer at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
On top of your child’s discipline and behavior, the children’s hospital said your situation at home should also play a factor in your decision making.
They said if you live with people in a high-risk category, that does give reason to keep your children at home.
“If you have someone in your home that is part of that vulnerable population, an elderly family member or someone who is on chemotherapy or who is sick, then you need to put that into the equation,” said Dr. Emad Salman.
A good example is Taryn Gillis, who is pregnant and expecting this fall.
“For our family, we’re going to have a new baby over the fall. I’m going to be at the end of my pregnancy so we just felt like we played extra safe and keep them at home for the fall semester,” she said.
Gillis is like many other parents who say they will reevaluate the situation after the first semester and will potentially send their kids back in the spring if it’s safe to do so.
As for what symptoms parents should watch for in their kids, Dr. Stephanie Stovall said that in kids, “it seems to be more upper respiratory illness first, maybe a sore throat, and many of our kids have G.I. symptoms, so they’ll have vomiting or diarrhea.”
Llechu said children under 10 are likely to be carriers of COVID-19. “They are less infective than their older siblings but children over 10 should be treated as any other adult as far as their ability to infect others.”
“Children can get COVID-19 just like adults but less so. And kids tend to do much better. The majority of kids go home and do well,” Salman said.
While kids are less likely to experience severe symptoms, in the end, you know your kids best. You know if they can keep that mask on or remember to wash their hands. If they can’t do those things, the doctors said they become a risk to you, their grandparents, or the teachers they have at school.