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Is it safe for students to return to classrooms? Some health experts say yes

It's been months since schools shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, and many parents are asking is it safe to return? Some local health experts say yes.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — School districts across the Sacramento region are considering their options for what their school year will look like come Fall.

In late June, the American Academy of Pediatrics released guidance encouraging the reopening of schools.

Dr. Ravinder Khaira, a Sacramento-based pediatrician, supports the guidance.

“We’re at a junction now where we have to weigh the costs of isolation and quarantining in place versus you know the benefits of opening our schools up,” Khaira said.

The impact of coronavirus related school closures has taken a toll on youth. Now, mounting evidence indicating that young people are less likely to be severely affected by the virus, the AAP reports.

“Schools should reopen and students should return to in person classroom teaching,” Khaira said.

While there will be risk of new infections, the AAP’s guidance says schools can reopen safely with modifications:

  • Encourage alternative modes of transportation for students who have other options besides busing
  • Assigned seating that keeps the same students near each other each day
  • One-way hallways
  • Separate lunch periods to minimize the number of students in cafeterias at one time
  • Utilize outdoor spaces for meals

Medical and mental health experts say there are many benefits to reopening schools.

“A lot of teenagers have been isolated,” said Sacramento psychologist Andrew Mendonsa. “They need to be around peers, they need to have socialization."

The benefits of in-classroom education are well documented and students have access to support services, the AAP wrote. While out of the classroom, students are facing social isolation, education loss and food insecurity.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Giacomo Luca.

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