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Can kids safely go back to school? One expert says yes, but with restrictions

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Coronavirus is surging a month before kids are supposed to head back to school and many parents are still making the decision to keep them at home or send them to school.

Parents are concerned about sending their kids back to school, but it might not be as big of a risk as you may think.

“So far, the medical studies have shown that kids have less incidents of the disease, and they have less risk of getting the disease and less risk of transmission. So, having known that fact, that gives us a comfort,” Dr. Tarik Patel, an infectious disease expert, said

Patel thinks kids can go back to school safely with certain guidelines in place.

“Schools should make sure the teachers have access to masks, social distancing, hand sanitizers and clean workspace that no one is exposed to. If we have all those measures, then we can safely open the schools,” he said.

Still, with so much unknown, parents are struggling to make a decision so soon. We looked at the deadlines to sign up for virtual school for our local districts:

Columbia County’s deadline has come and gone on July 1. Richmond County has a due date of July 20.

Aiken is expected to release the final deadline tomorrow. Edgefield is choosing to wait to release a plan until they get closer to the start date of school. But Patel says right now opening schools would not overwhelm hospitals

“We can take a comfort in opening and handling any new cases that could potentially come from the school districts,” he said. “I would not be sure about testing all the kids given the fact that the number in the kids are pretty low.”

Patel says schools should consider testing staff periodically throughout the year to avoid potential spread.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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