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American Association of Pediatrics advises kids be in school

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 7:33 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Guidance is strongly recommending kids go back to the classroom because virtual learning has negatively impacted students.

“I think students often learn better in an in-person environment,” said college student Gwyneth Cartright.

Logan County High School student Rosey Gillette said she likes going fewer days, but she thinks school should be in session.

“I’m not always the biggest fan of school, but I do like going everyday and having some kind of stability,” Gillette said.

These students and the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) agree -- kids should be in school by the fall.

“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.”

American Association of Pediatrics

Guidance recommends one-way hallways, assigned seats in buses and staggered desks in classrooms.

Most all scenarios from kindergarten up to high school require students to wear a mask.

Dr. Joseph Matusic Jr. agrees saying the biggest way to stop the spread is a mask and social distancing but says it will be tough.

“To try to keep kids away and keep masks on and to keep them from touching each other - good luck I hope that happens and I hope they listen but they are kids,”

Gillette said they should make changes but wearing a mask will not be easy.

Matusic is concerned because children are a source for spreading any infection, and some data suggests COVID-19 could affect them.

“There is suspicion that children who are asymptomatic have permanent damage to their lungs. We still don’t know that yet,” Matusic said.

Beyond children, he is concerned for everyone involved in the school system, elderly foster parents in West Virginia and hospital capacities if COVID-19 cases go up.

“When we go past that capacity, we don’t have the ventilators for you, we don’t have oxygen for you. We can’t take care of you or your mother or your grandmother,” said Dr. Matusic.

He said kids should wear a mask in school for their sake and for those around them.

“The kids are breathing all over each other. It is a respiratory virus. The cleaning of the school is probably less important than their wearing masks and adhering to social distancing,” Matusic said.

The guidance from AAP also suggests policies should start with having students present, and it goes on to say schools are critical in addressing racial and social issues.

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