Back to School COVID-19

As schools are scheduled to reopen in Baldwin and Mobile Counties in August. Many parents are voicing concerns about whether to send their child back to traditional school with in-person instruction versus virtual. This decision may be difficult for several of our Pulmonary Associates of Mobile families trying to balance the health and safety of our children and returning to school. Below are some of our frequently asked questions. We have also attached several links for helping children with handwashing, wearing a mask, and talking to your children about COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the doctors recommend going back to traditional school?

The decision for children to return to traditional school is a personal one that cannot be decided by your provider. Parents should review your school districts’ options for those not wanting in-person instruction. Parents should also review your school’s plan for re-opening in August.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recognizes the psychological, social, and fundamental importance of in-person instruction. It provides more than reading, writing, and math; it also gives emotional support, mental health support, exercise, meals, and much more.  The AAP and the CDC have set forth guidelines to protect children when returning to school.
Please follow the link to read more about the AAP recommendation on children and COVID-19:

https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/

Can my child with Asthma wear a mask?

Yes, children with asthma can wear a mask and need to start practicing now for when school starts. Our own asthmatic children are wearing masks to protect themselves and others.

Will the doctor write a note for my child not to wear a mask?

No, the physicians will not generate a note for any child to abstain from wearing a mask for in-person instruction. If you feel that your child can not wear the mask and would like to discuss further please call for an appointment.

Can my immunocompromised child return to school?

This is individualized to each child who is immunocompromised or on immunotherapy. We recommend that you talk to your provider for your child’s specific plan of care.

Will the doctor write a note stating that I need to stay home with my child during virtual school?

No, if you decide to keep your child home to attend virtual school you must arrange for this. The physicians will not complete any note or FMLA paperwork for parents to miss work.

Can my child stay home alone?

The National Safe Kid Campaign recommends that no child under 12 stay home alone.  

How can I protect my child when they return to school?

Get vaccinated for the flu. The symptoms of COVID-19 and flu are similar and may delay proper testing and treatment.
Start now by working with your child on proper handwashing
Review what social distancing is and that they should not hug or kiss classmates or teachers
Practice handwashing
Teach your child how to wear a mask: the right and wrong way.
Review with your child to cover coughs and sneezes
Take temperatures daily and do not come to school with a fever or sick
Do not give your child fever-reducing agents and send them to school. If your child has a fever, this could potentially infect other students and teachers.
Do not come to school if your child is feeling bad.
Avoid any close contact with anyone who may be sick or appear to be sick.
Be prepared for changes and closures with additional waves. Get a backup plan now.
If you do have COVID-19 in the home, notify the school as soon as you can to help prevent further spread.

How do I protect my child with Asthma going back to school?

All of the above recommendations
The number one thing that parents and children with Asthma can do is know their Asthma Action Plan.
Maintaining good asthma control during this outbreak is vital. If you have not seen your physician or need to review/update your child’s Asthma Action Plan, call now for an appointment.
Take your prescribed asthma medications and inhalers every day to keep good control

Washing hands

It is recommended that you begin to practice handwashing with your children.

1. Wet your hands with clean water (cold or warm)
2. lather hands with soap
3. Scrub hands for 20 seconds, you can sing Happy birthday or Twinkle-Twinkle little star twice.
4. Make sure to get the backs of your hands, between your fingers, the palms of your hands, and under your nails!
5. Rinse well with clean, running water.
6. Dry hands with clean town or air dry them.

Here are some great resources for families to practice washing their hands together.

Wear your mask – practice with your children how to wear a mask.

There is evidence that shows when face masks/coverings are used the transmission rate is drastically reduced.
Facemasks should be at least two layers of cotton that cover the nose and mouth.
Facemasks are not recommended for children less than 2 years of age or those with cognitive delays that would prevent them from removing the mask without assistance.
This type of mask can collect droplets from the wearer limiting the rate in which COVID-19 droplets released into the air. We wear masks to protect each other.
Cloth facemasks should be washed every day or after each use.

Here are some great resources if you have any further questions:

Social Distancingso important in slowing the spread of COVID-19

Begin teaching children what social distancing is and why it is important.
Encourage children not to hug or come into close contact with other children and teachers at school
Teach children that if they must get close to someone, they need to be wearing their mask.
Check with your child’s schools for their plan on social distancing in the classroom, in the hallways, and on the bus.

Here are some great links to break down the ages of children and how social distancing can impact their day to day life at school.

How to talk to your children about COVID-19

This is a very stressful time for your child and may be experiencing increased anxiety. Having an open and honest conversation with your child may help calm their fears. Here are a few links to help discuss COVID-19 with your child.

Want to learn more

Here are some great links to educate yourself and your child about COVID-19.

CDC Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and Children
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#Children

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology
https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/covid-asthma

https://www.aaaai.org/Aaaai/media/MediaLibrary/Images/Promos/Coronavirus-Symptoms.pdf

HealthChildren.org and returning to school
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Return-to-School-During-COVID-19.aspx