Is It Safe To Send Kids To School During COVID?
As many schools across the country reopen this fall after months of virtual learning, parents may be, understandably, nervous or confused about sending their children back to school in person. Fortunately, most districts are offering families a choice between face-to-face school and online learning. This allows parents to balance their child’s needs with their own personal concerns about the coronavirus and, ultimately, select the scenario they are most comfortable with.
The exceptional team of board-certified emergency room physicians and professional staff at iCare ER & Urgent Care fully understand the difficulty you may be facing in choosing whether or not to send your children back to school during COVID-19. With accurate COVID-19 testing and quick results at both of our facilities in Fort Worth and Frisco, TX, iCare ER & Urgent Care is here to help parents and students navigate this uncertain time. Use this helpful information to learn more about COVID and kids, including things to consider as the school year begins.
Should I send my kids back to school during coronavirus?
The choice between face-to-face school and virtual learning is ultimately up to the parent or caretaker and their student. Several organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), acknowledge the superiority of in-person schooling for children’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. Furthermore, younger students and those with learning disabilities have been shown to benefit more by going to school versus learning at home. However, there are several important things to consider when deciding between virtual or face-to-face learning. These may include:
- Overall health of your child
- Overall health of family members under the same roof
- High-risk family members or close contacts
- Social and emotional needs of your child
- Parents’ work schedules and responsibilities
- Time available for homeschooling
- Health and safety measures being taken by your child’s school
Is face-to-face learning safe during COVID?
While there is no way to guarantee that a student, teacher, or staff member is fully protected from COVID-19, the vast majority of schools are following strict CDC guidelines and implementing enhanced health, safety, and sanitation measures to minimize the risks, including:
- Social distancing practices
- Spacing out desks
- Smaller class sizes
- Requiring face coverings or masks in common spaces
- Having students eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria
- Conducting classes and lessons outside
- Not sharing school supplies
- Temperature checks
- Increased cleaning and sanitation routines
- Thorough plan for closures/cleaning in the event of a positive COVID test
How will I know if my child has COVID?
Coronavirus symptoms can vary from person to person. In some cases, patients with a positive coronavirus test may present with no signs or symptoms. In the majority of school-aged children, symptoms are typically less severe than those seen in adults or younger children. The most common signs and symptoms of COVID include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of smell or taste
If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of COVID, visit your nearest emergency room right away to get tested.
How is COVID testing performed?
At both of our iCare ER & Urgent Care locations in Frisco and Fort Worth, TX, we offer three types of COVID-19 tests in the emergency room side of our unique hybrid dual-service facility, including:
- BioFire PCR: An extremely sensitive, high-quality antigen test that offers 97% accuracy in identifying an active COVID infection in as few as 2–3 days after exposure. In most cases, patients receive their PCR test results the same day.
- Sofia SARS antigen: A nasal or throat swab test that provides rapid results, often in less than an hour, to confirm an active infection. However, antigen testing is less sensitive than PCR testing and may result in a false negative for some patients.
- Antibody: A blood test that confirms the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, meaning the patient has been infected previously or may currently be infected with COVID. This test should be performed at least ten days after exposure to COVID, and the results are usually available in just a few hours.
Following your Frisco, TX or Fort Worth, TX COVID-19 test at iCare ER & Urgent Care, you will be contacted with your results as soon as they are available. We encourage patients to remain in self-quarantine until they have received a negative result, regardless of their symptoms. If you or your child do receive a positive COVID test, it is critical that you follow the CDC’s guidelines and remain in self-isolation for at least ten days from the onset of your symptoms. If your symptoms are still present after ten days, you should remain quarantined and isolated until you are symptom-free for 72 hours.
Feel confident about choosing a learning option for your child during COVID-19
As parents, we all want to keep our children safe and make the best decisions when it comes to their health and education. Ultimately, selecting virtual learning or face-to-face school is a personal decision and will involve balancing the risks and benefits for yourself, your child, and your family. Should you or your child need to be tested for COVID-19 this school year, rest assured that our board-certified emergency room physicians and professional staff at iCare ER & Urgent Care maintain the highest levels of cleanliness and follow all the recommendations provided by the CDC. For more information about COVID-19 testing or to book an appointment for coronavirus tests in Fort Worth or Frisco, TX, visit our COVID-19 – What You Need to Know page.