Will schools be safe for kids in the fall? Experts weigh in

Right now, parents all over the country are wondering whether it will be safe for their kids to go back to school in the fall.

“You know it’s really hard,” mom Amy Turner said Tuesday. “I’m really glad that I’m not a person that has to make this decision.”

After all, those decision-makers have a lot to consider.

This week the American Academy of Pediatrics released guidance saying the group “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school.” It notes that among other benefits, schools provide kids with academic instruction, social and emotional skills, reliable nutrition, and physical activity.

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Dr. Danielle Dooley also pointed out that the AAP’s guidance includes section after section of recommendations to keep both students and teachers safe.

“I think that we are really starting to appreciate the very negative health effects that school closures are having on kids,” Dooley said. “Schools are critical for children, and children’s lives actually depend on attending school.”

That’s not to say, however, that everyone is in agreement about when to bring the kids back. Tina Williams is the president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers and said she’d like kids back in school too – as long as there’s a detailed, thorough plan in place.

“We are 100 percent for that, but we also understand that we need to be safe,” Williams explained.

Meanwhile, Fairfax Federation of Teachers President Kimberly Adams said she doesn’t think kids should go back until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment.

“We have a healthy number of our employees who are really worried about themselves, their own medical conditions, their own children at home, their own aging parents, and whomever might live in their house that could be very much at risk,” Adams said.

Maybe the only thing we know for sure at this point? Whenever the experts decide to bring everybody back, students like six-year-old Colin Turner will be ready to go.

“Because I miss my friends,” Turner explained, adding, “and I want to learn more.”