Folks need to understand that they should begin self-quarantine as soon as they learn that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Do you know what to do if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Hopefully you already know that you shouldn’t go to a party and expose lots of other folks…
What to Do if You Have Been Exposed to COVID-19
Unfortunately, lots of mistakes are being made that are causing COVID-19 cases to again rise.
“For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.”
You may expose others in the days before you start to show symptoms (presymptomatic transmission).
But can’t you just get tested after your exposure to see if you have it?
Sure, you can get tested, but if it is negative and you are early in your incubation period, it doesn’t mean that you still won’t become sick later on. For example, you could have a negative COVID-19 test four days after being exposed to the virus, but then develop symptoms of COVID-19 two days later.
“Yes, you are still considered a close contact even if you were wearing a cloth face covering while you were around someone with COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are meant to prevent someone from transmitting the disease to others, and not to protect someone from becoming infected.”
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
What if you’re not sure if you have COVID-19 and you are waiting on your test results?
That should be a no-brainer.
Self-isolate yourself why you are waiting for your COVID-19 test results!
And if you think you have COVID-19, be sure to tell all of your close contacts, which includes everyone who was within 6 feet of you for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before you began feeling sick.
Of course, social distancing and wearing a mask are important too.
But folks need to understand that they should begin to self-quarantine as soon as they learn that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. That’s the easiest way to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the size of outbreaks.
Everything you need to know to reduce your risk of getting and exposing others to COVID-19.
We are far enough into this pandemic that there really is no excuse that folks still don’t know about the importance of going into quarantine after being exposed or why you should practice social distancing and wear a face mask.
And yet, cases are once again surging all over the country…
7 Things to Know About COVID-19
In addition to knowing that the pandemic isn’t over and won’t be over for some time, you should know that:
you could have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 if you had close contact (less than 6 feet apart) to someone with COVID-19 (has symptoms or tested positive) for at least 15 minutes, even if you were both wearing masks (sure, there is much less risk if you were wearing masks, but to be safe, it still counts as an exposure). And with the latest guidelines, the exposure doesn’t have to for a continual 15 minutes, but rather “a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.” So if you were close to someone with COVID-19 for 5 minutes each hour for three hours, then that counts as close contact.
you can develop symptoms of COVID-19 from one to 14 days after you are exposed to someone with COVID-19. This is the incubation period for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the time you should be in quarantine after your exposure (although there are some new options to end quarantine early).
testing negative soon after you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 doesn’t mean that you can’t develop symptoms later in your incubation period! Although testing is a very important part of containing this pandemic, you don’t necessarily need to rush to get tested right after you are exposed. You can, but understand that a negative test doesn’t get you out of your quarantine early. A positive test will shift you into a period of isolation, but know that some COVID-19 tests, especially the rapid antigen tests, are more likely to give a false positive result if you don’t have symptoms. If you are going to get tested after being exposed and don’t have symptoms, the optimal time is probably about 5 to 7 days after your exposure and remember to continue your quarantine if it is negative.
you can be contagious for at least two days before you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive and will continue to be contagious for at least ten days, the time you should be in isolation (a stricter form of quarantine). If you had severe symptoms or have a severely weakened immune system, then you might be contagious for a much longer period of time though, up to 20 days. And remember that you can continue to test positive for weeks or months, long after you are no longer contagious, which is why repeat testing is no longer routinely recommended.
you can be contagious even though you don’t have symptoms, which is why you should try to always wear a mask and practice social distancing when you are around other people. You don’t know who has COVID-19!
if you continue to be exposed to someone with COVID-19 in your home, your 14 day quarantine period doesn’t start until they are no longer contagious, as you will continue to be exposed that whole time. That’s why some folks end up in extended quarantine for 24 days- the 10 days that the COVID-19 positive person was contagious + 14 days of quarantine, which started once the person was no longer contagious.
we can’t count on natural herd immunity to end the pandemic, as that would mean millions and millions of people dying. But understand that there is a middle ground between the extremes of total lockdowns and doing nothing. Wear a mask, keep six feet apart from other people (social distancing), and avoid crowds until we get safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines!
Most importantly, know that the more people you are around, the higher the risk that you will be exposed to and get sick with COVID-19.
Is it really essential that you have a family gathering with 25 or 50 people right now, as cases begin to surge in your area? Will you be able to keep everyone six feet apart? Will they be wearing masks the whole time?
Do you want to keep schools and businesses open, even if they aren’t at full capacity?
Then wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and stop acting like the pandemic is already over or never existed in the first place!
Since SARS-CoV-2 is spreading wherever a lot of people are getting together, you must adapt to life with COVID-19 now, so that you will still be around when COVID-19 is finally gone.
As cases start to surge again and countries are reentering lockdown, you might be asking yourself just who is spreading COVID-19 around now?
Is it political rallies, protestors, or kids going to school?
Where is COVID-19 Spreading Now?
In addition to very large gatherings, like political rallies, some folks might be surprised to learn that COVID-19 is now spreading:
after religious events and holidays
in daycare centers and schools
among recreational, high school, and college sports teams
at very large gatherings (>50 people), including funerals and weddings, some of which turn into superspreading events
at large gatherings (>10 people) of family and friends
Not surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 is spreading wherever a lot of people are getting together.
Hopefully, understanding that can help us all avoid getting sick with COVID-19!
“Regardless of the origin of superspreading, we emphasize the particular fragility of a disease in which a major part of infections are caused by the minority. If this is the case, the disease is vulnerable to mitigation by reducing the number of different people that an individual meets within an infectious period. The significance is clear; Everybody can still be socially active, but generally only with relatively few – on the order of ten persons. Importantly, our study further demonstrates that repeated contact with interconnected groups (such as at a work-place or in friend groups) is comparatively less damaging than repeated contacts to independent people.”
Superspreaders provide essential clues for mitigation of COVID-19
Remember, the pandemic isn’t over yet.
If anything, we are heading into another big wave in most parts of the world.
And although COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, they won’t be hear quick enough to stop it.
Only you can stop it by social distancing from others as much as possible (stay at least 6 feet away), wearing a mask (yes, masks still work despite the new study some folks are talking about), and washing your hands regularly.
Most importantly, understand that:
someone can be contagious for up to two days before they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or they test positive and will continue to be contagious for at least 10 more days, their isolation period
if exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should avoid others and go into self-quarantine for at least 14 days after your last contact, as that is the incubation period (the time from exposure to when you might develop symptoms)
in addition to those who are sick before they develop symptoms (pre-symptomatic), some are contagious even though they never develop symptoms (asymptomatic transmission)
There are strict rules that dictate how long you are contagious and when you are most contagious when you have COVID-19.
Why is it so important to know how long you are contagious when you have COVID-19?
Of course, it is so that you don’t expose anyone else and get them sick too!
How Long Are You Contagious When You Have COVID-19?
Fortunately, knowing how long you are contagious when you have COVID-19 isn’t as confusing as it might seem.
In general, you are contagious until 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared, as long as you are free of fever and your other symptoms are improving.
But what if you never had any symptoms of COVID-19?
“If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19.”
When You Can be Around Others
If you had a positive COVID-19 test, but no symptoms, then you will continue to be contagious until 10 days after the test.
Other things you should understand about COVID-19 include that:
although you are generally contagious for 10 days after your symptoms start or you had a positive test, you can be contagious even earlier, up to two days before you develop symptoms (presymptomatic transmission)
you are most contagious in the first days when your COVID-19 symptoms start when viral load peaks
it is possible that you could continue to test positive for up to three months, even though you are out of the range of time when you are considered contagious (viral load is too low to cause disease), which is why most experts don’t recommend retesting after someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, especially as a method to figure out when to end home isolation
you should start making COVID-19 antibodies within 5-10 days of getting sick, which is thought to make you less contagious
while you are likely contagious for at least 10 days (how long you should stay in isolation) when you are sick with COVID-19, if on the other hand, you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you need to quarantine for 14 days – that’s the incubation period for COVID-19 – how long it might take to develop symptoms after being exposed
Don’t want to deal with any of this?
Wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands, etc., and work to avoid getting COVID-19!
“Some camps might have the capacity to conduct COVID-19 testing. CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but these decisions should be made in conjunction with state and local health departments and healthcare providers.”
CDC on Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps
But still, that guidance isn’t to test everyone, but only those who are high risk, with symptoms, or with suspected COVID-19.
What’s the problem with testing everyone at camp?
It could lead these camps to rely too much on testing instead of cleaning and disinfecting and encouraging hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, cloth face coverings, and social distancing, etc.
Remember, COVID-19 tests can give false-negative results, so some people might actually be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and have a negative test. Without a healthy environment at camp, that person might get many other kids and staff members sick.
And a true negative test just means that you are negative when the test was done. It doesn’t mean that you will remain negative until you have your next test.
Also, just because you aren’t testing everyone doesn’t mean that you can’t test those kids and staff members once they begin to show symptoms.
Are your kids going to summer camp this year?
Do they need a COVID-19 test before they go and while they are at camp?
Don’t be mislead by the folks making false comparisons about COVID-19 deaths.
Have you seen folks trying to compare COVID-19 deaths to other things?
What other things?
Basically anything and everything, from smoking, drowning, and car accidents to the flu…
Those COVID-19 Death Comparisons
It’s not that surprising that those comparisons were made when the COVID-19 pandemic first got going.
But it is disappointing that some folks are still making these arguments.
“I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population. But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu.”
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
What’s even worse, they seem to be using the arguments to discourage others from social distancing and wearing masks!
Fortunately, most people understand that you can’t really compare COVID-19 deaths to those other things.
It is like comparing apples to oranges. Sure, they are both fruits, but they aren’t the same kinds of fruits.
So why do some people make these false comparisons?
They do it to make you think that both sides of the argument are the same or are equal. After all, it makes easier to downplay COVID-19 deaths if ‘they’ can make you think they are the same as deaths from car accidents, drownings, and the flu, etc.
So why shouldn’t you make these comparisons?
For one thing, deaths from COVID-19 spiked suddenly. They haven’t been spread out over a year or many years, like deaths from car accidents, drownings, and cigarette smoking, etc..
“The demand on hospital resources during the COVID-19 crisis has not occurred before in the US, even during the worst of influenza seasons. Yet public officials continue to draw comparisons between seasonal influenza and SARS-CoV-2 mortality, often in an attempt to minimize the effects of the unfolding pandemic.”
Faust et al on Assessment of Deaths From COVID-19 and From Seasonal Influenza
Also, unlike car accidents and drownings, COVID-19 is contagious.
And don’t forget, we go to great lengths to reduce deaths from car accidents and drownings, with everything from seat belts, air bags, and life jackets to fencing around swimming pools and laws against distracted driving.
Does anyone say “life is about risk,” while throwing their toddler in the pool and walking inside?
We make efforts to reduce that risk!
We also go to some effort to understand those risks…
“If we overestimate our risk in one area, it can lead to anxiety and interfere with carrying out our normal daily routine. Ironically, it also leads us to underestimate real risks that can injure or kill us.”
National Safety Council on Odds of Dying
So what is your risk of being in a car accident?
Believe it or not, it is fairly low, with the average person filing a claim for a car accident once every 17.9 years.
And since only about 3 in 1,000 car accidents are fatal, the chance of you being in a fatal motor vehicle accident is also fairly low.
“The total number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. exceeds 115,000, outnumbering each of the leading causes of preventable injury death (58,908 preventable drug overdose deaths, 39,404 motor-vehicle deaths, and 37,455 fall deaths in 2018). However, the full impact of COVID-19 is even greater than the number of deaths and confirmed cases. The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the uncertainty regarding how long the pandemic will last and the disruption to normal everyday activities is impacting society like no other safety issue in modern history.”
COVID-19 Cases in the United States
How does that compare to getting and dying from COVID-19?
Where do you live? Are folks around you wearing a mask?
If you are working from home in a small town with few COVID-19 cases, then your risk is obviously much, much lower than someone who works around the public in a bigger city with rising case counts.
Do you have any risk factors for a more severe case of COVID-19?
While the overall case fatality rate is about 1%, that starts to go up as you approach age 50 and is higher for those with many chronic health conditions.
Just like your risk of dying in a car accident is going to be much higher than average if you drink and drive, don’t wear a seat belt, talk on your phone, and speed, your risk of getting and dying from a SARS-CoV-2 infection is going to be higher if you live in or travel to an area with a lot of cases, are around a lot of people who aren’t social distancing or wearing masks, and you are in a high risk group.
The bottom line though, whatever your risk, are you going to take steps to increase that risk for your self and those around you or are you going to lower that risk?
5 things you need to know to protect yourself, your family, and your community until we finally get COVID-19 beat.
As cases start to rise again after our initial efforts to flatten the curve, you are either ready to throw up your hands, wondering what’s next, or are resigned to staying home for awhile.
“Plan A, don’t go in a crowd. Plan B, if you do, make sure you wear a mask.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci
But what if you do have to go out?
5 Things You Need to Know About COVID-19
While a lot of folks are making mistakes, it’s certainly not time to throw in the towel.
“It is important to remember that anyone who has close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after exposure based on the time it takes to develop illness.”
When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19
Here are 5 things you need to know to protect yourself, your family, and your community until we finally get COVID-19 beat.
While people probably aren’t contagious if they don’t have symptoms, they can be contagious in the days just before they develop symptoms. Unfortunately, you don’t know when that might be, which is why it is important to self-quarantine after you have been exposed (or think that you might have been exposed) for a full incubation period.
Understand that SARS-CoV-2 is typically spread through close contact with someone who is infected (again, this is also in the days before they show symptoms). That means you can likely avoid getting sick if you practice social distancing (stay 6 feet away from other people), wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face, etc. To protect others, you should also cover your coughs and sneezes and wear a mask.
Cognitive biases, heuristics, and logical fallacies are likely affecting how you are viewing information and advice about COVID-19.
Early on, it was easy to understand why there was so much confusion about COVID-19, after all, it took some time before we even got a real name for the new or novel virus that is causing this pandemic.
While there is still a lot more research to do, we have already learned a lot about the best ways to help prevent and treat COVID-19 infections.
Too many people don’t seem to understand that though…
Why There is Still So Much COVID-19 Confusion
Many people also don’t understand that advice and recommendations often shift and change as we get new information.
“It is irrational to hold any view so tightly that you aren’t willing to admit the possibility that you might be wrong.”
What would it take to convince you that you were wrong?
And of course, you have to expect that to happen when you are dealing with a brand new disease!
So what are people confused about?
Everything from the effectiveness of face masks to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (they do) to whether our COVID-19 death counts have been inflated (we are probably seeing under-counts).
“Compared with other Americans, adults who “often” use social media to get news about COVID-19 report higher levels of exposure to the conspiracy theory that the pandemic was intentionally planned.”
Three Months In, Many Americans See Exaggeration, Conspiracy Theories and Partisanship in COVID-19 News
Where are they getting their information???
I’m guessing it isn’t from experts…
Who to Trust About COVID-19
Adding to a lot of the confusion we are dealing with are folks pushing misinformation.
As you learn who to trust for information about COVID-19, you will hopefully develop the skills you need to be more skeptical about all of the things you see and read.
“Although my main message is that awareness of cognitive biases can lead to more effective messages and measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, where cognitive bias is regarded as harmful, it may be helpful to take steps to reduce such bias. Education and awareness of cognitive biases are key, so that individuals and organisations question flawed or traditional thinking habits and try to promote evidence based thinking. At an individual level, the additional advice is to slow down in your thinking, pause and reflect, and seek external views.”
Covid-19 and cognitive bias
And you will hopefully turn to sources that many of us use, including:
Don’t let them get in your way of following the advice from the experts that could protect you and your family from getting and spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
What does that mean?
Well, if you don’t think anyone should tell you to wear a mask, then you will likely look for information and advice that says masks don’t work and aren’t necessary (confirmation bias).
You will also likely not believe any information and advice that says COVID-19 is deadly.
Well, if you believed it was deadly, then you would work to avoid it and try to keep those around you safe, including doing things like wearing a mask. Instead, cognitive dissonance, the anxiety you get from believing in two things that contradict each other, will push you towards believing things that reinforce your idea that you don’t have to wear a mask.
What to Know About COVID-19 Confusion
Tired of being confused about COVID-19 and other things?
“It’s sobering to note all the ways in which human brains distort decision processes; perhaps it’s a wonder that any good decision is ever made.”
How to Make Better Decisions About Coronavirus
Be more skeptical and look for new sources of information and advice and understand how cognitive biases, heuristics, and logical fallacies affect our decision making.
Wearing a face mask is safe and may help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Why do some people still think they shouldn’t wear a mask to help control the COVID-19 pandemic?
The usual suspects…
Confusion About Face Masks and COVID-19
Much of the confusion about face masks stems from the fact the initial guidance from the WHO and CDC said that wearing a mask wasn’t necessary for everyone.
“Wearing medical masks when not indicated may cause unnecessary cost, procurement burden and create a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures such as hand hygiene practices. Furthermore, using a mask incorrectly may hamper its effectiveness to reduce the risk of transmission.”
Advice on the use of masks in the community, during home care and in health care settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak – WHO Interim guidance January 2020
If you are going to wear your mask under your chin or with your nose or mouth exposed and think you are protected and not social distance, then wearing a mask might actually get more people sick. With little information that masks were helpful, this fear that they would create a false sense of security likely influenced initial guidance.
Experts were likely also concerned about a limited supply of medical masks at the time.
Of course, as we have gotten more information about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and how it spreads, that guidance about face masks changed.
“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 (April 2020)
We know that the best way to avoid getting COVID-19, at least until we get a vaccine, is going to be trying make sure you are never exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In addition to social distancing and washing your hands, wearing a face mask correctly will help to decrease your risk of exposing others. And if those around you are wearing a face mask, then they won’t expose you!
What to Know About Face Masks and COVID-19
But what about the idea that the pore size of the masks are too big to stop the small size of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
The thing is, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while it is very small, isn’t just floating around in the air by itself! It gets carried in and on larger respiratory droplets.
And if the mask blocks those respiratory droplets, then it should keep you from exposing others to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
What about the claim that face masks cause folks to breath their own carbon dioxide, even leading to breathing problems?
On the one hand, they are worried that the pore size of face masks won’t block out the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is about 0.1 μm in diameter.
But then they think these very same face masks will block carbon dioxide? How big are carbon dioxide molecules???
They are about 1000 times smaller than the SARS-CoV-2 virus…
So a face mask is not going to affect your ability to breath well.
Who Should Not Wear a Face Mask
Not surprisingly, a face mask is even recommended for folks with asthma, as long as their asthma is well controlled.
“There is no evidence that wearing a face mask makes asthma worse.”
AAAI Recommendations on the use of face masks to reduce COVID-19 transmission
Infants and toddlers under age two years can skip wearing a face mask because of the risk of suffocation, as can “anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”
If you have “trouble breathing” though, you likely have a severe respiratory condition and you aren’t simply someone who doesn’t want to wear a mask.
And there are no face mask exemptions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Are you ready to put on a mask now?
Since we are seeing higher rates of COVID-19 in states that don’t have mask mandates, the only confusion should be over why anyone still won’t wear a mask when they are around other people.
The AAP has offered guidance for a safe way to get our kids back in school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Will schools follow any of it when they open up?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued some guidance about what to do about kids going to school this fall.
Not surprisingly, folks are a little confused about what they actually said…
What Did the AAP Say About Sending Kids Back to School?
It is true, the AAP guidance does favor opening up schools this fall.
“With the above principles in mind, the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.”
COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry
But, that isn’t all they said…
To get to that goal of opening schools, the AAP offered a list of key principles that schools should follow, including that:
school policies are going to have to be “flexible and nimble” so that they can quickly change as we get new information, especially “when specific policies are not working”
schools develop strategies that depend on the levels of COVID-19 cases in the school and community
schools make special considerations and accommodations for those who need them, “including those who are medically fragile, live in poverty, have developmental challenges, or have special health care needs or disabilities, with the goal of safe return to school”
So clearly, this is not a one-size-fits-all, lets open up schools no matter what kind of thing.
“Highest Risk: Full sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.”
CDC on Considerations for Schools
The AAP didn’t say to simply open up schools without doing anything else…
“No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce that risk. For example, where physical distance cannot be maintained, students (over the age of 2 years) and staff can wear face coverings (when feasible). In the following sections, we review some general principles that policy makers should consider as they plan for the coming school year. For all of these, education for the entire school community regarding these measures should begin early, ideally at least several weeks before the start of the school year.”
COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry
They offered guidance on how to safely open schools.
Or at least how to open schools as safely as possible, as the alternative of keeping kids at home has risks too. And many people are skeptical that a strategy of closing schools is all that helpful in controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
So the AAP guidance says that we open schools and also plan for:
Physical distancing – cohort classes, block schedules, rotating teachers instead of students, etc.
Cleaning and disinfecting
Testing and screening – schools will need a rapid response plan for when a child or staff member develops a fever at school.
Face Coverings and PPE – although it won’t be possible in all situations and for all children, “school staff and older students (middle or high school) may be able to wear cloth face coverings safely and consistently and should be encouraged to do so.”
Organized Activities – although this isn’t something most folks want to hear, they should understand that opening schools doesn’t mean that everything will be back to normal… “It is likely that sporting events, practices, and conditioning sessions will be limited in many locations.”
If we do all of that, will it really be safe to go to school with these guidelines?
Unfortunately, the most important part of the guidelines, the section on Testing and Screening, was a bit light on details…
“Parents should be instructed to keep their child at home if they are ill.”
COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry
The guidelines acknowledge that it will be too hard to do temperature checks and symptom screening each day and that schools should have a rapid response plan if anyone has a fever had school, but then what?
“Here in Colorado, I’ve been following our state health department website very closely. They update data every day and include the outbreaks in the state they are investigating. As you can imagine, there are lots and lots in long-term care facilities and skilled nursing homes, some in restaurants and grocery stores. There have been a total of four in child care centers, and we do have a lot of child care centers open. In almost every one of those cases, transmission was between two adults. The kids in the centers are not spreading Covid-19. I’m hearing the same thing from other states, as well.”
Why a Pediatric Group Is Pushing to Reopen Schools This Fall
So what’s going to happen if kids in school start to get sick and test positive for COVID-19?
The 60,000 members of the AAP who didn’t participate in writing the guideline know what’s going to happen…
And if we are going to send our kids back to school, we should make sure that we are protecting all of the folks making that possible.
Can we do all of that?
Sending Your Kids Back to School
Are you still unsure about whether or not you should send your own kids back to school?
I don’t blame you…
Some things to consider when making the decision:
is your child or any of their contacts at risk for a more severe case of COVID-19, including having an underlying, chronic medical condition, keeping in mind that the risk increases with age, especially once you reach age 65 years? If possible, online schooling might be a better option for students in high risk categories.
was staying home from school hard for your child? If your child had problems learning at home or the social isolation was an issue, than that would make going back to school even more important.
will your school or school district be “flexible and nimble” and respond to new information, rising case counts, and evolve their policies if necessary?
Most importantly, if you send your kids back to school, are you going to be constantly worried that they are going to get COVID-19 or bring home the SARS-CoV-2 virus? If so, then keep them home this fall.
On the other hand, if they are healthy, have no high risk contacts at home, and are eager to go back to school, then you should probably feel comfortable sending them if the school follows the guidance offered by the AAP.