How to make schools safe for kids, according to a pediatric infectious disease specialist

As the number of cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to rise across the country, especially among children, many parents and teachers are focusing on the best strategies to keep their children safe this school year.

“Mask everyone, keep childcare facilities at least three feet indoors, and make sure everyone who can be vaccinated is vaccinated,” advises Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of childhood infectious diseases at Stanford University School of Medicine. She joined Yahoo Finance Live for a candid talk about the state of the pandemic.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 4.8 million children tested positive for COVID-19 as of August 26. About 204,000 of those cases have been added in the past week. It marked the second week of childhood cases at the level of the 2020-21 winter wave.

“I think the academy has been very clear for months that children have to go back to school. There is a path for them to go back to school – it is quite easy. It may be difficult to be operational in some areas, but we have now had enough time to get that going,” Maldonado said.

“We know from studies across the country that when masking and distancing is used, you see a minimum of infections in school. And the vast majority of those infections actually come from the community and not from school outbreaks,” she added.

“We know that if there are outbreaks in school, they will happen because if children are not masked, teachers are not masked and vaccines are not used,” she said.

A little girl’s elbow collides with a pediatrician during clinic greeting during a coronavirus pandemic.

Maldonado is baffled by officials and school boards battling against the CDC-recommended strategies for mitigating COVID-19.

“This is not rocket science. Children are smart, they know how to adapt and they are ready to adapt. So why we’re doing this, preventing people from protecting children, is absolutely reprehensible,” she said.

When it comes to the mental toll the pandemic has taken on children in the US, Maldonado says the effects may not be known for years to come. However, she believes that children have the mental and emotional capacity to overcome these problems with the right support system.

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“Kids are very resilient… parents and schools need to be aware of what we can do to mitigate some of the impact of social isolation on those kids who don’t have the bandwidth, they don’t have resources at home, they’re there.” ” she said.

Maldonado stressed that she and other medical experts do not say that they do not stay at home, do not interact with others. “We say the opposite: you can go out and enjoy social activities, school and other occasions, but make sure you are masked and vaccinated at this point because Delta is quite a contagious virus, much more contagious than the last one. version.”

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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