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Mother and child getting ready for school

As school districts prepare to reopen, whether full-time or part-time, parents may have concerns regarding the health and safety of their children.

Catholic Health Services’s Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center’s Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics Howard Balbi, MD, recently spoke with Newsday and addressed potential concerns. 

What can parents and school administrators do to keep kids safe in school? 

Prevention is key. Don't send your kid to school if they're sick. We can't play around with that. Hand hygiene is also important, and schools should have hand sanitizer available throughout the facility.

Does the hybrid system, where students learn remotely part time and go to school part time, keep everyone safe and offer kids socialization?

The hybrid model has advantages, including having fewer kids in a classroom, and depending on how it is set up, more time for schools to clean. The full-time model, however, has the advantage of better socialization and more individualized teaching.

Are school buses a concern?

It would be good to limit how many people are on the bus. I think the biggest risks around COVID-19 and schools will include when everyone is coming and going, and it's not just the students. Parents who decide to drop off and pick up their kids shouldn't be congregating in one place and talking. 

Is there anything else parents can do to keep their kids safe this fall? 

Wearing a mask and social distancing during drop off and pick up may not seem like a big deal, but these preventative steps will help keep your family safe and others as well.  Also, vaccines are always an important factor in prevention of childhood illness, but it’s especially important now. This is not the year you want to skip the flu vaccine! 

To read more safety tips and to see how Catholic Health Services is keeping you safe, please visit this link.

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