Ask an Expert: Should Schools Reopen in the Fall?

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Playing Coronavirus: Should Schools Reopen in the Fall?

Is it really safe for kids and teachers to head back into the classroom in the midst of a pandemic? Recently, the United States just hit 4 million cases of COVID-19, and there seems to be no signs of the virus slowing down. Infectious disease expert Dr. Ravina Kullar feels that it's not safe to head back to school just yet.

Read: 10 Favorite Face Masks for Kids

Dr. Kullar acknowledges that there is a lower prevalence for children to contract covid-19, but they are still at risk. Also according to the Mayo Clinic, children of all ages can contract coronavirus, they rarely experience severe illness and so far few have died. However, there is a complication that kids may develop called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which Dr. Kullar describes as being like Kawasaki disease. This inflammatory condition works to shut organs in the body down. Evidence shows that most children who develop MIS-C tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. There is still a lot of unknowns about the virus and its long term effects on people and children. 

Read: Coronavirus: Mysterious Syndrome Related to Covid-19 Now Affecting Children?

Dr. Kullar encourages virtual learning to happen during the pandemic, and until there is a decrease or even a plateau in the number of cases in the United States, she thinks it's premature to even have the conversation of whether or not to reopen. 

Dr. Kullar also shares that college settings pose the biggest risk for major outbreaks to happen. She feels it's easier to monitor kids that still live at home, and within elementary, middle and high schools you can reduce class size, stagger times, and place plastic dividers between desks. She feels even with those measures in place, there is still a substantial risk for children to acquire the virus. "The bottom line -- It's not safe to reopen school right now," shares Dr. Kullar.