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Should I Send My Kids Back to School During COVID-19? Pediatrician Matthew Naegle Weighs In

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School is starting up again at the end of this month, and big changes are in store for kids of all grades and ages. We sat down with Dr. Matthew Naegle, Pediatrician at Ogden Clinic, to ask him what parents can do to best help their children navigate the uncertain waters of attending school during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: Are you comfortable with sending kids back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Yes, I’m a proponent of getting children back into school. Having said that, we absolutely need to make certain that our kids are safe and that they do not end up being a means of transmission of the disease. But most children do tend to learn and develop better in a routine and around other children, and a traditional school setting provides those conditions. So my preference for my patients and for my own children would be for them to go back to school – as long as the school is taking reasonable steps to keep everybody safe.

Q: What are those reasonable steps that need to be taken in order to ensure that students are safe in school during this pandemic?

A: Simple things, really – all of which have been recommended by the CDC:

  • wearing masks
  • regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces
  • washing hands frequently
  • spacing students’ desks as far apart as possible
  • arranging for fewer students in the classroom, if possible
  • in areas where students traditionally move from class to class, hopefully, teachers can move between classrooms instead so that kids aren’t moving to-and-from classes as much.

Q: Do you worry about children having to wear masks for 6+ hours at school?

A: It’ll certainly be a challenge to keep masks on the children, particularly with younger kids. It’ll take a coordinated effort by parents and teachers to help make sure that that happens.

Q: What can parents do to help teach their young children to keep their masks on?

A: The most important thing for a parent to do is to model the behavior that they seek to instill in their children. So it’s important for our kids to see us wearing facial coverings when we are out in public. It’s also a good idea to encourage our children to practice wearing masks at home for a certain amount of time each day before school starts again.

Dr. Matthew Naegle is a pediatrician who practices at Ogden Clinic | Canyon View in Ogden. He sees children ages infant to 18 for everything from immunizations to sports physicals to mental health consultations and acute injuries. Dr. Naegle also speaks Spanish. Schedule with Dr. Naegle by calling 801-475-3700 or online here.

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