The American Academy of Pediatrics took a strong stand last week against keeping schools closed come the start of the new school in year in the fall.
“Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide our children and adolescents with academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits,” the statement read.
Therefore, “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.”
The doctors note that Covid19 transmission among children has been low, but the risks of continued time away from the classroom and school settings have had adverse effects that are well-documented
“Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.”
The AAP even recommended prioritizing in-person learning over social distancing requirements.
“Schools should weigh the benefits of strict adherence to a 6-feet spacing rule between students with the potential downside if remote learning is the only alternative. Strict adherence to a specific size of student groups (eg, 10 per classroom, 15 per classroom, etc) should be discouraged in favor of other risk mitigation strategies.”
The AAP does recommend that teachers continue to main 6 ft. of social distance between other teachers and between parents.
Schools across the country have been closed since the start of the Covid19 pandemic in March and many states have yet to decide whether they will welcome students back into school buildings come the start of school year in the fall.
Photo by The Department of Defense