Doctors have mixed feelings about kids going back to school because of spiking COVID-19 cases

Jul 10, 2020, 6:20 PM
Doctors have mixed feelings about kids going back to school because of spiking COVID-19 cases refug...
(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Statistically, children have a very low risk of getting a serious case of COVID-19. Even so, doctors have mixed feelings about schools in Utah potentially reopening in August. 

The Chief Medical Officers and doctors from Intermountain Healthcare, HCA MountainStar Health, University of Utah Health, and Steward Health held a virtual news conference on Friday to urge the governor to institute a statewide mask mandate as more and more people are testing positive for COVID-19 in Utah. 

The subject turned to education, with some of the doctors being asked for their opinion about schools potentially opening back up in August. 

The doctors had mixed feelings about it. 

Intermountain Healthcare Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Eddie Stenehjem is concerned about sending children back to school during a pandemic that could be gaining steam. 

“Until we see declining case counts and a really good control of this pandemic, I think it’s going to be really hard for us to send our children back to school full time in a safe and effective manner,” Stenehjem said. 

Steward Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arlen Jarrett, on the other hand, was more open to the idea, but still has some concerns. 

“We know that children can get and spread this disease. We also know that, in general, they’re not as at-risk for catching or dying from the disease as older people are. That doesn’t mean they can’t bring it home and spread it. So, we have to go into this very thoughtfully,” Jarrett said. 

He also believes Utah needs to balance the need to stay safe with children’s educational attainment, as the switch to online learning last semester was not successful for every student. 

“What I am concerned about, along with transmission and spread of disease, I’m concerned about the generation of children who need to be educated. So, clearly, we have to weigh a decision very carefully about what it’s doing to their development,” Jarrett said. 

The doctors also urged state leaders to look at the science and make decisions about schools reopening based on the data. 


Related articles:

SLC schools release plans to reopen in the fall amid COVID-19

Jordan School District reopens and students are required to wear masks in the Fall

Herbert mandates masks for K-12 schools; stops short of statewide public mandate

Today’s Top Stories


utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
1 month ago
COVID-19 testing kits...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The complicated tale of COVID-19 test kits

What's so complicated about COVID-19 test kits? Mostly, the expiration date. It's a puzzle that nobody seems able to solve.
2 months ago
moderna young kids...

Moderna seeks to be 1st with COVID shots for littlest kids

The company hopes the FDA will rule in time for young children to start getting their low-dose vaccinations by summer.
2 months ago
New eligibility rules for pandemic-EBT program...
Waverly Golden

New eligibility guidelines for Pandemic-EBT

Utah households will have to apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits with their local school by May 6 to possibly receive Pandemic-EBT.
3 months ago
Eighth grade students and their teacher wear masks during their dual language class at Mount Jordan...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Bill that would allow parents to sue teachers over curriculum substituted during general session

The part of a bill that would have included the ability for parents to sue teachers if they didn't like what was on the lesson plan is being substituted on Utah's Capitol hill. 
5 months ago
The Salt Lake School Board eliminated 42 teaching positions because of dropping enrollment numbers....
Martha Harris, Paul Nelson, and Kira Hoffelmeyer

42 teaching positions eliminated in SLC from decline in student enrollment

The board eliminated 42 teaching positions because of dropping enrollment numbers
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Doctors have mixed feelings about kids going back to school because of spiking COVID-19 cases