Update from Dr Yiannis, London Paediatrician – Is it safe to go back to school?
COVID-19 update from Dr Yiannis
- Is it safe to send my child back to school?
- Can children transmit COVID-19 back into the household?
- Should I send my child back to school?
A message from Dr Yiannis.
I hope this latest update finds you and your loved ones well.
Below I have highlighted important messages and useful links for you and your families.
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Is it safe to go back to school?
Half term is rapidly coming to an end and many of you have been in touch with questions about whether it’s safe to send your children back to school.
There are a few conflicting opinions that you have probably seen in the media which have somewhat added to the confusion and worry.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health released a statement this week that may help to put your mind at ease and answer some of your questions.
Is it safe to send my child back to school?
Studies show that children and young people make up only 1-4% of those who tested positive for COVID-19. This is good news for children and young people, and tells us that yes, medically, it is safe to return to school.
As I mentioned in my last update and just to reassure you again, so far all the indicators are that children are only very mildly affected or have no symptoms. But it is very important to continue to follow guidance and seek medical advice if you’re concerned about your child’s health.
The traffic light flow chart highlighted below remains a very useful tool to use if parents and carers are concerned about their child during an illness.
Can children transmit COVID-19 back into the household?
The evidence is not so clear about the extent to which children may transmit COVID-19 back into households and communities. Unfortunately, there is no answer to when this will become clear. There are thankfully some very encouraging signs from other European countries that have begun to open their schools.
Weighing up the pros and cons of sending your child back to school is a case of understanding and mitigating these risks, and making decisions that are the best for your child and family.
Should I send my child back to school?
As I am advising all parents, the decision whether or not to send your child back to school is a balance of risks. It isn’t a simple yes or no.
The risk of returning to school is very low in terms of any possible harm from COVID-19 (although not zero). However, you may want to reduce all possible risk or you may not feel comfortable with sending your child back to school at the moment.
It’s a matter of what’s most comfortable for your family.
If you have one child at home and one returning and would rather keep both children at home, that is completely understandable.
For some, the positive impact on your child’s health and wellbeing by sending them back to school will outweigh the small risk. And of course, some of you will be returning to work and having your child back at school will relieve any childcare pressure.
You should do what is best for your child and your family situation. Whatever decision you take should be understood and supported by the school.
Please do take a look at the resources below to help you make an informed and confident decision that’s right for you.
Useful resources for further information:
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH): Advice relating to the use of Ibuprofen in children with fever.
- Flow chart to advise parents when to seek medical advice if their child is unwell.
- NHS latest Covid-19 updates.
- Great Ormond Street Hospital Covid 19 summary.
- Key messages for parents relating to Covid 19.
- NHS Coronavirus and children.
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Statement on Schools reopening