Pediatricians Back School Reopening But With Safety Measures in Place

A Long Island pediatricians’ organization has issued guidelines and information about masks and other safety concerns for the reopening of schools in September.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapter 2, said it strongly supported the return to school but “This must be done with the utmost attention to the safety of students, teachers, and staff.”

Dr. Eve Krief, a pediatrician in Huntington, said, ” The children I have seen in my practice this summer have been comfortably wearing their masks without complaint and without touching their masks or fidgeting with them.

“Children are resilient and adaptable. Parents are encouraged to model wearing masks, praise their children for protecting their families and communities by wearing a mask. Children like to feel they are helping and will feel empowered. Schools are encouraged to have structured mask breaks for children, preferably outside whenever possible.”

The group supports the use of masks for everyone, with rare exceptions for health, such as rare, severe breathing problems, but not asthma, and children with sensory issues or developmental delays for
whom wearing a mask could cause extreme anxiety.

“In accordance with the guidelines set forth by New York State, the Centers for Disease Control, and the national American Academy of Pediatrics, it is imperative that local epidemiology and rates of local cases of SARS-CoV-2 inform decisions about school re-entry and continued school attendance throughout the early part of the
school year,” the organization said.

Krief said parents were encouraged to allow children to pick out their own masks to make them part of the process.

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