Health experts recommend planning and exercising caution when deciding to send children back to school, amid New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement on Saturday that he will make a decision on the reopening of schools in New York this week.
Cuomo noted that he is monitoring the infection rate statewide. Health experts have warned of reopening in areas of the United States where levels of Covid-19 transmission are still high.
If you try to open schools in areas where transmission is accelerated, teachers will get sick, bus drivers will get sick, and all it takes is a teacher to end up in the very hospital. sick with Covid-19, and it’s going to destabilize the whole school district, and that’s what’s going to happen, “said Dr Peter Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College on Saturday morning. We are preparing teachers to fail. ”
Emergency medicine doctor Dr Daniel Fagbuyi said on Saturday that planning was essential to consider reopening. It recommends communities consider reopening once they have met certain requirements, including achieving a positivity rate of less than 5%, imposing face masks, and implementing rapid testing, social distancing and regular washing. hands.
Fagbuyi noted that the measures “seem basic, but if you don’t have all of them in place at once, there’s always a loophole, and once you have a loophole, the game is over. “
In this case, “game over” can be fatal.
If there is a child who gets sick and dies, unfortunately it affects the whole community, ”Fagbuyi said.
Experts say it may be helpful to consider these potential consequences of the reopening.
“We have to ask ourselves the question, are we prepared to live with the end result of the inevitable situation where teachers are going to be infected? It’s going to happen, ”said Dr. Mike Saag, associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Are we ready to live with these consequences? Because I think that’s what we’re going to see in about three months, unfortunately, with the rates of infections that we have. “
Saag said leaders must be prepared to act on the plans that are being drawn up.
“Once a plan is developed, the implementation should follow in a synchronized fashion,” Saag said. “If not, we should expect cases in schools, and it won’t be news that someone in Mississippi or someone in another school system has been infected. “
Hotez recommended waiting for coronavirus cases to reach containment in states before schools reopen. Saag noted that New York’s cases fell to near pre-epidemic levels before considering reopening schools.
Cuomo said on Saturday that even in New York City, parents are understandably worried.
It’s not the choice of school districts, it’s the choice of parents, ”Cuomo said. And that’s why these plans are important. ”
Saag noted that it’s a tough decision, “The question is, what are we prepared to live with? “