What to do about COVID in schools – experts weigh in

There are many questions floating around parents' minds as their kids go back to school. Two health experts lay out what to do to keep kids safe as they re-enter the classroom.

The start of school is stressful at the best of times, but as students go back to class amid a global pandemic parents are left wondering what they should do to keep their kids as safe as possible.

The Detroit Free Press interviewed two health experts about the questions plaguing parents this school year. Dr. Alison Tribble is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Dr. Scott Grant is a general pediatrician at the Detroit Medical Center.

They said the two most important things are to enforce mask wearing in schools and to continue to self-isolate as much as possible. That means staying away from people who aren’t a part of your household.

But what if your child gets sick while at school? It may or may not be COVID-19, but if symptoms include a fever, a bad cough, or a sore throat, Tribble said your child should get tested.

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“It gets a little tricky when it’s something like a runny nose,” she said. “There are other viruses going around, so it may not be feasible to have every child tested who has a very mild symptom. Certainly have that discussion with the school.”

What if someone else tests positive for COVID-19 at school? It may not be cause for concern.

“When I say exposed, we’re talking about were you a close contact, someone that’s been [near] the sick patient for more than 15 minutes,” she said. “Just being in the same school building is not considered an exposure.”

The school or health department staff should contact anyone who they think may have been exposed. Those people should get tested, but just having a positive case at your child’s school doesn’t necessarily mean there is cause for concern.

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