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Coronavirus and Schools…Questions & Answers

A Nurse In Your Pocket Series


Should schools open?


In my opinion, and yes, it is just an opinion, NO. The Coronavirus is extremely new, at present it has been in the US roughly 7 months. In that time we have gone from 1 case in the US to over 5,380,693 cases. We have also gone from 0 deaths to 169,754 deaths in the US and counting. These numbers are not to invoke fear, but awareness. This disease is easily spread and the primary reason for such a quick spread is that 40% of people who get it don’t have symptoms. So, a person who gets it almost has a 50/50 chance of not having symptoms, but they also have a 50/50 chance of having mild to moderate symptoms or even dying from it. Kids are not immune to the Coronavirus, most of their symptoms just present a little differently. That does not mean it is necessarily a pleasant experience for them. Although, the risk to children dying of the Coronavirus is much less significant. The risk of spread remains the same or even greater. Remember, your children will not be encapsulated in the schools, they will be in close proximity with other people’s children, who have very different patterns of thought and belief systems. If your child wears a mask, their exposure and risk will be just as high as the kids who aren’t wearing masks.


Should I send my children to school?


It is a very personal thing. That decision depends on your household and whether you even have a choice. Schools in the states of Georgia and Texas have already opened (prematurely, in my opinion). Many of these schools have had to close or quickly revert to online learning because they were not adequately prepared to deal with the Coronavirus. If there is no way to structure the school initiation process, chaos will quickly ensue, as seen with these schools. If there is no consistent mask requirement/spacing requirement, then my answer to this question would be “No”. For younger children, elementary and middle school, maintaining any level of consistent protective measures will be nearly impossible. If there is any way for you to keep your most prized possessions — your kids, at home, please do.


What if schools limit opening to a day or two?


Schools that limit opening or operations to 2 days per week, will still result in significant exposure. If there are no consistent protective measurements in place, then the exposure to the kids will be limited to however long they are in school. Most people that I have seen were exposed in a day, sometimes an hour. That one party, that one visit, that one trip, that one day…Ultimately, regardless of the decision that parents make it needs to be an educated one.


Is home schooling my kids an option?


Home schooling should always be an option, if it’s something that you can fit into your life. As long as the parent has been through the child’s grade level and done well, it should be kept as an option. The main issue with home schooling is the level of patience the teaching parent has. Most children already have a certain level of intimidation when it’s in regards to their parents. Children also need to be somewhat relaxed in order to increase receptability to absorbing the information taught. If you have “bad nerves’’ or are stressed out, or have super high expectations (expect an A+ grade average), do yourself and your children a favor by passing on the homeschooling option. There is no need to add more stress into your life or those of your children by attempting to do something that is clearly not going to work out. There are online schools and other options that can be researched. The main thing to understand is, just as this situation with Covid-19 is not your fault, it’s not the fault of your children either.


Why are the schools opening so quickly?


There are many financial reasons and probably even more political ones. It simply boils down to the fact that people need money. That’s no secret and it’s not abnormal, hell we all do. The problem with that is that children don’t live alone, if they get the Coronavirus at school, they will be bringing it back home to their parents, possibly grandparents. The Coronavirus has already turned many children into orphans. Many others have significantly reduced parental figures because of this virus. Not to mention, this puts teachers, janitors, principals and any other person frequenting the halls of the school at risk, simply because they have to feed their families. This is an unnecessary risk.


My kid wears a mask constantly, so he’s safe.


It is nice that you have instilled the importance of wearing a mask into your kids. Evidently, you understand that kids can still play and have fun while being safe. The issue is that whether they wear a mask or not, your kids risk will be the same as the kids they are near based on the nature of this disease. If your child wears a mask and walks past another kid who does not wear a mask, then they are at risk. If the kid that is not wearing a mask has been around 3 other maskless kids, their maskless parents and whoever they’ve encountered, then your risk will be essentially the same as if you’ve been in close proximity with all of these people.


The daycare cleans the school three times a day and they check temperatures.


It is good that there is frequent cleaning at the school/daycare that your child attends. This will decrease the risk of spread from touching surfaces. But it’s important to understand that this disease is primarily spread through respiratory contact, talking, laughing, even breathing near someone, hence the six feet distancing requirement. Cleaning an area is only one part of management. The biggest concern should be — Are the kids coming to school with it? If 40% of people with the Coronavirus do not have symptoms, since children are people, then 40% of kids will not have symptoms. A temperature is a symptom of the Coronavirus, which will not show in someone who is asymptomatic. I’ve also seen many kids sent to daycare with runny noses, sneezing, etc, because their parents have to go to work.


The school has a policy, if you’re sick, you can’t go to school.


Although, this school has a policy that prohibits children from going to school sick. The nature of the Coronavirus, which really is no particular “rhyme or reason” confuses many. This is the only disease process that exists in which there may be no symptoms at all.People keep forgetting that. This disease process is unlike anything that we’ve ever known, because it won’t necessarily have symptoms or it can kill you. It is essentially the luck of the draw. Please remember, it is not necessarily the sick people who are transmitting this disease, it’s primarily the people who are not sick.


Kristal Glover-Wing RN, BSN, Coronavirus Nurse, Owned/operated healthcare company for 20 years.

Author — The Caregiver’s Bible @ www.thecaregiversbible.com

Blog — A Nurse In You Pocket

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