The American Academy of Pediatrics released interim guidelines for parents and schools on schooling this fall. The guidelines stress the key role of schools in providing not just academic instruction to children, but also as fundamental providers of social and emotional skill development, safety, nutrition, physical activity, and mental health therapy to children.
Children Should Learn In-person, If Possible
The AAP found that school closure and the online learning methods that took place in the spring had a significant negative impact for diverse racial, ethnic, and vulnerable groups. Evidence from spring 2020 school closures points to negative impacts on learning, and children and adolescents were placed at higher risk of abuse, substance use, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. This is very concerning to healthcare providers, including Northern Colorado Independent Physicians Association members.
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.”American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry
Age Appropriate Mask Use & Social Distancing
The AAP recommendations emphasize the need for age appropriate restrictions related to cloth face coverings.
The guidelines include high- and low-priority strategies for physical distancing and the use of cloth face coverings by age. High-priority strategies include the following:
- For pre-kindergarten students, cohort classes, spend time outdoors, and limit visitors to the building. The impact of physical distancing is small and difficult to implement in this age group.
- Elementary students should wear face coverings if the risk of touching their mouth or nose is not greater than the benefit of reducing the spread of COVID-19. When possible, spacing desks 3 to 6 feet apart and using cohort classes and outdoor space, is recommended
- Physical distancing may have a bigger impact on reducing the risk of COVID-19 among secondary school students. When feasible, use face coverings when closer than 6 feet apart, avoid close proximity (and go outdoors if possible and spread out) during activities like singing and exercising, and consider cohorting classes.
What’s right for your family?
If you have questions about what is right for your family and whether or not your child should attend school in the fall, don’t hesitate to reach out to your primary care physician. If you’re looking for an independent health care provider in Northern Colorado, don’t hesistate to search our provider directory or look for a location near you.
To read the full AAP Guidelines, click here:
COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry