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American Academy of Pediatrics encourages in-person schooling this fall

A highly respected medical organization says schools can safely return in person.

CLEVELAND — Plans are underway to get kids back to school in the fall. University Hospitals Medical Director of Child Advocacy and Protection Dr. Lolita McDavid says several factors are leading to this push.

“Education is number one, but nutrition and family support and allowing children to learn at a pace that not only is for them, but also that they need to know they’re keeping up with everybody else,” says Dr. McDavid.

That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging school systems to let kids be physically present in schools. Local parents like Joellen Podall have questions before deciding if her kids will return to school.

“I want to know about the cleaning procedure. The ability to have socially distant, I actually hate the word socially distant, physically distant between the kids,” questions Podall.

The Academy recommends three feet of social distancing in school. Six feet would mean all classes would have to decrease in size and there simply aren’t enough teachers for that. The Academy also says this fall almost all schools will look and feel different.

“So we’re all going to have to get into this habit of wearing masks, social distancing, and washing your hands. If you can do that, you’re probably going to be okay,” says Dr. McDavid.

The biggest challenge for many school systems will be making sure students are on the same page following months of at-home learning and an entire summer off.

“We’re going to have to get them caught up, we have to help families with what do you need to be able to make sure your child has what they need. So I think the Academy’s report is right on target,” says Dr. McDavid.

The document also addresses transportation, meals, students who speak a foreign language, students with disabilities, medical concerns and more.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is expected to release statewide guidelines this Thursday.

If you would like to read the entire American Academy of Pediatrics report, click here

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