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Back to school COVID-19

Back to school 2021: COVID-19 considerations and answering your questions

One year ago, a group of experts from Children’s Wisconsin gathered to discuss recommendations and tips for back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, we didn’t know if kids would be going to school in person, virtually or a hybrid of both. We also didn’t yet have a vaccine. While a lot has changed in the last year, some things haven’t. Back to school can still be a stressful time with many unknowns. To help answer your questions and hopefully eliminate some of that stress, Smriti Khare, MD, president of Primary Care at Children’s Wisconsin, and Kristin Bencik-Boudreau, DO, a pediatrician at our Bayshore Pediatrics primary care office, held a live online conversation. 

Throughout the conversation, they answered questions about masking, vaccinations, the Delta variant, testing, mental and behavioral health and even tips for helping kids adjust. They encouraged a layered approach to COVID-19 mitigation in schools, which includes masks, distancing, hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and more. They spoke to the considerations for kids and their families at home, kids with complex medical needs, as well as teachers and school faculty.
Here is list of the topics discussed with timestamps:

01:40 - Introductions and personal experiences
06:25 - Is the COVID-19 pandemic over?
07:08 - What about the delta variant?
10:25 - Should students be going back to school in person?
12:00 - Should kids be wearing masks at school?
17:35 - If a school district isn't requiring masking, what protections can a parent provide to their kids?
19:45 - What about studies that indicate masks are bad for kids?
22:09 - Should we be testing students for COVID-19?
24:21 - What are recommendations when someone has to quarantine?
27:31 - Who is currently eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19? And when will younger kids be?
29:13 - What about if a child needs multiple vaccines?
30:24 - Should parents be concerned about long-term issues with the COVID-19 vaccine?
34:41 - If we have the vaccine, why do we need maks and vice versa?
35:55 - What is MIS-C, an illness linked to the coronavirus?
37:38 - Is MIS-C the same thing as myocarditis?
39:32 - How do teachers and school faculty factor into the decision to go back to school?
43:24 - What about kids with complex medical conditions?
45:45 - What about the mental health aspect of all of this?
48:41 - What tips do you have for helping kids prepare for going back to school?
50:55 - Do you feel comfortable sending kids back to school this year?
53:00 - What should parents watch for that would warrant an urgent care or emergency room visit if their child has COVID-19?
54:00 - Has Children's Wisconsin seen kids with adverse reactions to the vaccine?
55:26 - Of the three vaccines available for emergency use currently, how are they different?
57:03 - Suggestions for facemasks
58:48 - Why are breakthrough cases happening?
01:00:11 - Final thoughts