Health Watch: Back to school safety

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 2:39 PM AKDT
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In a meeting held Monday night, the Fairbanks School board voted to start school remotely for the 2020-2021 school year. Online schooling presents challenges for parents and teachers alike.

Dawn Bostwick has four children in school and says while she is worried about the disease spreading, not having her kids in school is concerning. “Well I think they are trying to cut the possibility of having COVID spread around. So, they are doing precautions, you know, that’s nice. On the other hand it’s just been so long since the kids have had any interaction with other kids, it’s just wearing on us I think,” she said.

We also spoke to Matt Netzley from Wasilla who said he plans to send his kids to school as long as they are open. “My only concern with that is how to keep the masks on the kids. I think the kids need the interaction, I think they need that social, I think they need that structure with that school,” Netzley said.

These concerns are understood and shared by medical professionals. ”School’s are fundamental to a child’s development, and it’s our goal to get kids back learning in person at a school, but we are also having to balance that with also the concerns regarding COVID-19,” said Mishelle Nace, a pediatrician and the pediatric medical director for Tanana Valley Clinic.

She says that no matter what schools do there are negatives. However, she said there are resources available on the CDC website about when it is safe to send children to school and encourages parents to use those. Dr. Nace also says there are alternative ways to still have social interactions outside of school.

“We know that being outside is different from being inside in terms of ventilation and spread of the virus. Are there things that you can do outside and include others and allow your children to have that kind if interaction without having to be concerned about having to keep the kids six feet apart. So are there different activities that you can do that are geared for that,” Nace said.

She also says zoom is a way to have children interact with each other.

Dr. Nace encourages people to get the flu vaccine, which will help keep people healthy, and reduce the chances of someone with the flu thinking they need COVID testing. Another way to help schools open sooner she said is to follow health guidelines so that cases go down.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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