Pediatricians Hope Schools Reopen Soon

Local pediatrician says data proves young children are less likely to spread COVID-19

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Most students have been out of the classroom for about three months since schools were closed because of COVID-19. Some doctors are concerned keeping students from in-class instruction will take a toll on developmental milestones.

San Diego County school districts have not announced when schools will reopen, but there are a lot of conflicting feelings over whether it’s safe to send kids back to school.

“It’s the social aspect, I think they need to be around other kids,” said Jennifer Cervantes. She has a 5-year-old daughter who is prepared to start kindergarten in the Fall.

But the threat of the coronavirus is keeping schools closed for the time being, and some parents think it should stay that way.

“Staying healthy and preventing COVID-19 from spreading is more important,” said Elsa Sevilla, a mother of a 16-year-old boy.   

Dr. Howard Taras, a pediatrician, and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics said, elementary-aged children could be missing out on vital developmental learning skills. But he admits the threat of COVID-19 is still a major concern.

“How do you weigh those risks? We’re not sure yet, but the science is getting better,” said Dr. Taras. “Having children at home for months and months, particularly as they approach kinder, first, second and older, is not good for their development.”

He said transitioning to hybrid classes is a good alternative.

“I truly believe we can open schools and find that correct balance with the right precautions at school,” said Dr. Taras.  He also said elementary-aged children are less likely to pass the virus on to others.

“I don’t think they (young children) are as infectious as long and I don’t think they’re breathing sends droplets out maybe at the same distance,” said Dr. Taras.

Still, some parents and teachers have raised concerns over catching the virus.

“They’ll catch up. Students, young kids, they’ll catch up (in school),” said Sevilla.

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