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Covid-19 advice for families as students return to classrooms

UW Health pediatricians provide tips for families as more children resume in-person learning across Wisconsin
The kindergarten classroom will welcome students back to in-person learning on Tuesday, March 9.
The kindergarten classroom will welcome students back to in-person learning on Tuesday, March 9.(WMTV)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 11:44 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With schools across Wisconsin returning to in-person learning, pediatricians at UW Health provide tips and reminders for families as their kids once again join friends and teachers in the classrooms.

According to UW Health, K-12 school have not been shown to drive community spread of COVID-19. At school, students are likely to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, such as symptom screening, mask wearing, physical distancing and handwashing, all which lower the rate of transmission in schools and keeps students safe.

It’s important that families encourage students to adhere to all the same precautions when at school and for families perform symptom-checks for their children before they head in to school. Remember to keep students home if they don’t feel well or have any symptoms.

Remind your students to wear their masks, wash their hands frequently and avoid getting too close to their friends during the school day. While previous school-related guidelines recommended a 6-foot distance between students, new studies, including a state-wide study from Massachusetts, show that students being within 3-feet of others does not increase the rate of transmission in schools.

So, while newly reunited friends can safely stand a little closer, advise your students to hold off on the hugs and high-fives.

Have a conversation with your student-athletes about the best way to protect themselves and those around them, on and off the field. Students-athletes should wear masks during and after play and maintain social-distancing as much as possible.

“Schools are a fundamental pillar of support for children and play a critical role in their health and well-being,” said Dr. Gregory Demuri, UW Health pediatrician, infectious disease specialist and medical advisor for the Madison Metropolitan School District. “It has been a relief to see that our worries about COVID & schools have not come to pass and have learned how to safely get kids and teachers back in the classrooms. It takes just a minute in any classroom to see the big smiles behind the masks shining through.”

Outside of schools, make sure your family continues to avoid gatherings, even with the friends your student sees during the school day. It’s still unsafe to hold sleepovers, birthday parties, or other social events that do not have strict mitigating measures in place. Because schools are at-risk from groups spreading COVID-19 within the community outside of schools, it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain COVID-19 guidelines by continuing to social distance, wear masks, wash hands and get the vaccine when it is available.

Following COVID-19 guidelines both in and out of schools will ensure that schools remain open and students receive the education and support they need.

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