As a pediatrician, father, and grandfather, I recognize the struggles that many families had with distance learning this spring. In response, my national organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has released a document that supports a return to in-person learning by emphasizing the following:
1) It appears that schools were not significant contributors to the initial spread of the coronavirus or spread to adults.
2) Studies have shown that children tend to become infected from adults with whom they live, not from other interactions.
3) There is significant emotional and family stress that occurs in the distance learning environment as implemented in the spring of 2020.
4) Changes in the physical environment of the school, the schedule, and class rules (such as masking, spacing, and keeping children in smaller groups) can further protect the children, teachers and staff from COVID.
The full document can be found at https://qrgo.page.link/gKYXb or you can scan the QR code.
I feel that local, state, and national leaders need to dedicate more resources and funding to address this challenge so that children and families have adequate education plans and resources for the upcoming year. Please help us direct their attention to this pressing need by sharing the document on your social media feeds and tagging your local (school boards, mayors), state (governors, education departments), and federal (representatives, senators and president) leaders, using the hashtag #SafelyOpenSchools.
Finally, the best way to ensure that we can reopen in the fall is to mask up, maintain physical distance and avoid large gatherings.