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Some families still can’t decide about school during the pandemic

Aug 14, 2020, 11:17 AM

Some Utah families are still trying to decide whether to go back to school in person or remote, even as schools along the Wasatch Front prepare to start fall classes amid the pandemic.

Doctors are trying to help them with that decision making.

School in a pandemic? Every family is different

“Just from a broad public health standpoint, my position is, in general, we need to try to get kids back into school. Individually, families are going to have specific circumstances they need to consider,” said Dr. Ryan Gottfredson at Utah Valley Pediatrics.

Those considerations deal with a family’s level of comfort and risk factors.

“Is there someone in the family living in the home who has a severe underlying medical condition that puts them at high risk for complications due to Covid-19? That is an important consideration. Does the child him or herself have a medical condition that would put them at risk?” said Gottfredson on KSL TV this week.

Factors to consider

Intermountain Healthcare put out a document or checklist helping people see more clearly some of the factors to weigh in the decision. The image is below. 

pandemic school utah

Graphic courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare.

Families can consider the community spread in their area, the size of their school, the school or school district’s policies and re-opening plan. They even need to see whether their child will wear a face covering all day.

Other considerations include how your child learns. For example, do they learn better with a teacher in-person, and with the socio-emotional support of classmates, or can they handle online learning or remote learning by themselves?

Families also may need to make decisions based on meals and other services a school provides. Or whether they even have the bandwidth and time to devote to remote learning at home.

“It’s not a bad idea to visit with your pediatrician, and try to assess what is the risk for your child going back to school,” said  Gottfredson.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Some families still can’t decide about school during the pandemic