Will it be safe to send your child to school this fall? Here’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) officially recommended that schools reopen this fall—a question that has been on every parent and educator’s mind as we navigate COVID-19 and its fallout.
To date in the U.S., we have 2.74 million confirmed cases of the virus and 130,000 deaths.
The virus is a very real threat, and its impact on our social and economic lives has been tremendous. Because of this, every parent will have a different reaction to this suggestion to reopen schools.
It’s important to note that the AAP’s guidance does not mean every school will open in the fall. That is up to state law and will highly depend on the number of cases and the rate of spread from state to state. But I want to emphasize that you can trust the AAP is placing child welfare front and center when making this recommendation. As their statement reads:
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. Beyond supporting the educational development of children and adolescents, schools play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity.
Studies are already coming out showing the detriment distanced learning has had on children not only academically but mentally as well.
A study released in JAMA Pediatrics surveyed a group of students in the Hubei province of China, where the virus originated. Of that group, 22.6% reported symptoms of depression and 18.9% reported symptoms of anxiety. Some of this is related to fears of the virus in general and some were linked to being on lock-down and socially isolated from peers.