With school quickly approaching, Shoreview Pediatrics continues to understand the questions and worries weighing on families in their decisions to return to in-person education vs virtual learning. Our stance remains the same: there is no universal recommendation and each decision is multifactorial and family-dependent. Below we will summarize some of the newest research, which is ever-changing, alongside recommendations that pertain to coronavirus disease in the pediatric population, and we hope this can help in your decision making in the weeks ahead.

Each family is going to have a different make-up of risk-levels if they were to acquire the virus from the person potentially attending school. Ie: Is there frequent, close contact with a grandparent? Is someone at home on an immune suppressive or higher risk for getting sicker with SARSCOV2?

So far, SARSCOV2 has proved to cause a less serious initial illness in children. What we’re still learning is how it affects children (and adults) long-term. MISC (the multisystem inflammatory disorder) that follows a typically mild-moderate case of COVID is still rare. However, if it occurs, it can be very serious and long-term effects are still unknown and remain a rapidly evolving topic of research.

Some information about spread:

Other factors to consider:

  • Parents need to be productive in their workplace, which for many has become their home. Unless employers are willing to change expectations, working full time while also providing childcare for 1+ children at home, or helping with online virtual learning, is nearly impossible to keep up with for a prolonged period of time without causing significant burn out, stress, mental health burden, and strain on the family dynamic.
  • Some children need to be social and have had significant behavioral/emotional struggles with the pandemic and isolation. For them, school/daycares are a necessity, not an option.
  • Many children rely on schools for therapies, physical activity, and food. For these children and their families, in person school is also a necessity.
  • Some children really struggle with virtual learning or do not have the resources they need to be successful with it and therefore will require in-person learning.
  • SARSCOV2 can infect nannies, daycare workers, and teachers alike. In general, the less contacts for each individual, the less likely the chance of acquiring the virus and continuing transmission.

Adopting an overarching sense of community and social responsibility will be paramount for all of Milwaukee’s children and their families to maintain a physically and mentally healthy Fall/Winter season. We’re in it together! We fight it together! We get back to normal together!