Gvozden Pediatrics / COVID-19 / Return to School Guidance

August 2020

As September approaches, instead of the usual excitement associated with school return, parents are filled with questions and concerns about the best way to manage their children’s return to school, sports and social activities.

Although the science and facts about COVID are still developing, there are a few well established facts that can help parents make decisions.

As you consider the best action for your family, keep in mind that politicians, administrators, business owners, etc..  are making decisions not always based on sound science, but sometimes based on beliefs, financial constrains or unproven strategies.

Some basic facts:

  • Children are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID than Flu
  • Children under 10 are less likely to contract and/or spread COVID
  • Children and adolescents often have asymptomatic or milder illness.

Even though the burden of COVID in children is low it is not zero and each family has to consider their own particular circumstances. There isn’t a one size fits all answer.

Some factors for parents to consider:

  • Is there a vulnerable person in the household (chronic illness, immunosuppression, advanced age)?
  • Does your child have conditions like ADHD or anxiety, that can significantly affect their ability to return to activities in an unusual environment?
  • Is there a financial/logistical reason weighing heavily on that decision?
  • Do containment measures proposed by schools or youth sports seem realistic? Are kids and adults going to be able to follow them?
  • What is your personal anxiety level? Are you going to feel at peace with the suggested protective measures while your child is away from you?
  • What is your gut instinct? Listen to it!
  • All kids are falling behind academically to some degree. Teachers will make sure they all catch up. Your kid is not being left behind.

One area of major concern are children less than 6 years old, being made to enforce social distancing and face mask wearing:

  • This is an age that developing healthy attachments is very important.
  • They have a limited ability to understand the reason for these measures and that they are temporary.
  • Because of their natural tendency to touch their faces and get close to each other, it is unlikely that these measures will protect them effectively and as teachers try to enforce them, it could cause significant and long lasting fear of other children and adults. Most of us can relate to that as strangers get to close to us at the grocery store.
  • Although that age group enjoys social groups, they are very happy to be with their caretakers.