HOUSTON – From masks to mental health, we have been getting a lot of questions regarding kids and COVID-19. We asked Dr. Charisma Garcia, pediatrician, Texas Children’s Health Plan The Center for Children and Women to help us answer some of your questions.
What do pediatricians say about kids returning to school?
Dr. Garcia: “The updated American of Pediatrics policy is pushing for states to have the option of in-person education for all students. That is because the school offers a lot more than an academy institution. School offers a safety net, mental, and physical health care screenings, it provides families with meals and time for exercise. It also gives children a chance for socialization, to be good citizens, to work as a team but also learn life skills that you need to be successful in the future. Kids will be disproportionally affected if they have special education. They won’t get the special speech therapy, their occupational therapy and they won’t have their accommodations at home that they would have with a special ed teacher.”
Are there certain kids who should just not go back to in-person school? For example, kids with a history of asthma or kids who live with grandparents.
Dr. Garcia: “In general, we are pushing for everyone to go back to school. Kids with special healthcare needs are actually going to be disproportionally affected by remote care. The AAP recommends pushing for accommodations instead of exclusions. So if your child has very severe asthma, we would recommend talking to your pediatrician, updating emergency profile, make sure you have a plan, but in general, all children should go back to school.”
Why is the rule that kids under 10 should not wear a mask?
Dr. Garcia: “Kids have more delicate airways. Their airways are shorter, so it’s difficult for them to breathe with the mask on. But not only that, they can’t help but touch their faces. So they are going to be touching their face. So they are going to be touching the mask and putting more germs on the mask than if it just wasn’t there. They touch little desks then they wipe their nose and that’s worse than if it was just free. But also kids don’t tend to have a very strong cough or sneeze so they are not able to propel droplets as far as adults can.”