A Checklist to Help Parents Decide: Send Kids Back to School or Keep Them Home During COVID-19?

When it comes to sending your child back to school or keeping them home this fall, the question comes down to your family’s individual risks when it comes to COVID-19, benefits and comfort levels.

Physician-in-Chief Juan Salazar, MD, MPH, returns to the blog to help you think it through.

Here’s what to consider:

  • Your child’s health. Is your child immunocompromised, or do they have any underlying health concerns such as immunosuppression, diabetes or chronic lung disease that put them at risk of severe illness from COVID-19? (Does your child have asthma? A pediatric asthma expert shares advice on school and day care during COVID-19.)
  • Your household’s health. Are any of your household members at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19? This includes older adults, and those with underlying health conditions. (Keep in mind: If your home itself has any health hazards like mold or asbestos, it could put everyone at greater risk for COVID-19 and other issues. Contact Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program to learn more.)
  • The community’s health. Is there an active outbreak in the community? What’s the rate of infection transmission? As of this posting in July 2020, Connecticut’s rate of infection is low. If numbers go up, so does the risk of infection.
  • The school’s safety measures. Do you feel comfortable with the school’s plans to reduce risks? Do they have adequate facilities and staff to create safe spaces? Do they have protocols for masks, social distancing, sanitizing, ventilation and keeping group sizes small? Do they have a plan for when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
  • Your work demands. Do you need child care in order to work and bring in income? If you are able to care for your child at home along with other household or work-from-home responsibilities, can you provide a safe, stimulating, age-appropriate environment?
  • Your child’s academic needs. Does your child do well with the self-regulation and focus required for distance learning, or do they need the structure and additional support of in-person classes? If your child has special needs, do they receive classroom support services that they can’t access from home?

For more information about what school will look like this fall, read Is It Safe to Send My Child Back to School During COVID-19? Advice From Connecticut Children’s Physician-in-Chief.

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