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Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics weighs in on schools reopening

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 7:45 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

The school reopening debate continues.

“A lot of our schools were not built for social distancing. Simple as that,” Bay District school board member Steve Moss said.

The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is now weighing in with its own recommendations.

Along with it, an open letter to Governor Ron DeSantis.

One of their pleas is for school districts to decide on their own for when and how they reopen based on specific community numbers.

Doctors recommend school districts in areas with a positivity testing rate greater than or equal to 5% in the previous two weeks delay the start of school.

Monday, health officials reported Bay County’s two-week positivity rate as 20.7%.

Keep in mind, NewsChannel 7 reported the positivity rate in the county isn’t 100% accurate.

One local pediatrician has some questions of his own.

“When you do have a case in the classroom, what’s in place?” Emerald Coast Pediatrics pediatrician Dr. Eehab Kenawy said.

Bay District school board member Steve Moss said a positive case will call for contact tracing and rapid testing. Now, BayLink will ease students into quarantine.

“If little Johnny or Susie starts in a brick-and-mortar school and God forbid they test positive, they’re able to go back home and quarantine whether it be 14 or 10 days, and still in theory not miss any instruction,” Moss said.

Dr. Kenawy maintains face masks are very important but parents need to self-monitor their kids for symptoms at home.

“The risk of transmission is there. it’s exactly the same as an adult’s,” Dr. Kenawy said.

Moss agreed.

“There’s no scenario now where there’s a temperature check when you get off the bus or on the bus or in your classrooms, or this or that. A lot of it is going to be in regards to self-reporting,” Moss said.

Florida pediatricians also recommend students receive and eat lunch in their classrooms.

“We’re going to encourage a lot of classes to eat outside if they can,” Moss said. “We’re even working with the union on maybe if a teacher wants to give up their lunch period to eat lunch with their student we’ll provide them with a stipend to do that. If they don’t want to they don’t have to.”

Dr. Kenawy had some recommendations of his own as well.

“Stagger kids coming in and leaving school; that way they’re not crowded. Maybe making extra room on the school busses so there’s every other seating,” Dr. Kenawy said.

Moss said bus routes will have to run as normal this school year.

“We are going to make masks mandatory if indeed you’re a bus rider because social distancing, the six feet, is impossible inside of a school bus,” Moss said.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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