As schools forge ahead, many parents are wondering how they can safely send their children back to the classroom. My colleague Tara Parker-Pope answered some common questions.

How can it be safe for children to go back to classrooms during a pandemic?

Surprisingly, schools have not been a major cause of Covid spreading events, particularly when prevention measures are in place. A combination of protections — masking indoors, keeping students at least three feet apart in classrooms, keeping students in separate cohorts or “pods,” encouraging hand washing and regular testing, and quarantining — have been effective. The American Rescue Plan also allocated $122 billion to help school districts pay for safety measures, and the C.D.C. has allocated $10 billion for testing.

What are the risks of Covid-19 and the Delta variant to children?

Overall the news is reassuring. New research suggests the Delta variant may cause more serious illness in adults, but it’s not known if the variant puts children at greater risk. Compared with adults, children diagnosed with Covid-19 are more likely to have mild symptoms or none at all, and are far less likely to develop severe illness, be hospitalized or die from the disease. Out of about 3.5 million cases of Covid-19 in children in the U.S., 519 have died from Covid-19 (fewer than 0.015 percent).

What should parents do if their school district doesn’t have a mask policy?

The C.D.C. has said mask mandates in schools are associated with a roughly 20 percent reduction in Covid-19 incidence. But even in schools with mask mandates, compliance by children is never 100 percent. Parents in school districts without mask mandates should learn what other steps are being taken, including regular testing and ventilation measures. Parents can ask their children to wear masks in schools, but masking is far less effective if most kids aren’t doing it.

What precautions can we take at home to lower a child’s risk?

The most important step is to vaccinate everyone in the family as soon as they are eligible. This will lower the risk of a child getting infected at home and protect family members if a child brings the coronavirus home from school. In addition, everyone in the family should get flu shots this fall and make sure other vaccines are up-to-date. Paying attention to the community transmission and vaccination rates and wearing masks in risky settings can also help.

More resources:

Louisiana has emerged as a coronavirus hot spot, with the highest per capita rate of cases in the country and a beleaguered health care system straining to keep up.

Source From Nytimes

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