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Drew: COVID Safety Concerns and Recommendations As Students Return

By Samuetta Hill Drew

It’s been a long time coming, but students are now returning to school for in-person learning. Due to the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, this decision is not without concern and controversy. Regardless of your feelings or beliefs, a majority of American youth will be learning inside classrooms again in a matter of a few weeks.
This includes Alabama youth who reside in a state with the lowest vaccine rate in the entire country. Therefore, there is a likelihood they may encounter staff or fellow students 12 years and older who have not received any of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines. So, what do you as an educator, parent or student do?
There are not any definitive answers currently because there is no uniform state policy and/or procedures being offered. Most of these types of decisions are made by local boards and government officials. Each private school, school district, college and/or university has the liberty of deciding what is best for them. Do not throw up your hands yet! As an individual there are some safety measures you may consider in helping protect you and your family. The next few articles will explore some of these safety considerations based upon recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with other medical and/or scientific experts in infectious diseases.
The first safety recommendation is that prior to returning to school make sure your child is up to date on all their age-appropriate vaccines. It is important they do not miss any of their routine doctor’s appointments. All school-aged children should get a flu shot each season. Getting a flu vaccine is especially important this season because the flu and COVID-19 cause similar common signs and symptoms. Although the flu shot does protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of the flu and complications. It is another layer of defense to help prevent missed school days.
Some schools may recommend daily temperature readings as a part of COVID-19 symptom screening. Since many of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, such as the common cold, allergies and influenza, the effectiveness of this screening may be limited. To limit the spread of COVID-19 as well as other germs, children should stay home from school and other activities if they have any signs of illness or a fever. Contact your doctor if you have any questions.
Next week’s article will explore what you should do if you your child is exposed to COVID-19. It is important you stay abreast with some safety practices to help you and your family Keep an Eye on Safety during the school year.