TAMPA, Fla. — The decision on whether to send kids back to school or not is weighing on every parent's mind as the start of the new school year looms.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing for students to get back to school and in the classroom, telling parents there's no need to be concerned.
"Our kids are at the least risk of this virus and much lower risk than they are from seasonal influenza. Our kids also play the smallest roll in transmission of the virus," DeSantis said.
But infectious disease experts say reopening brick and mortar schools won't help stop the spread of COVID-19.
"We're not where we should be for kids to be going back to school. I think a lot of people are thinking maybe if we give two more weeks, we're actually going to see an improvement with COVID, but we haven't seen an improvement in several weeks," Dr. Jill Roberts with the University of South Florida Public Health said. "I'm not sure that that's going to give us the window that we really need. My additional concern of that is that's actually pushing us closer to flu season.
The full picture hasn't been painted yet. Dr. Roberts says not enough kids have been tested and those that have are severe. As a parent herself, she also has a difficult decision to make.
"My husband and I both know she's probably going to get infected and she's probably going to bring it home. So that's gonna cause problems for us as well. There is no easy decision for anything or anybody here to make. It's all hard across the board," Dr. Roberts says.
Come fall, she says schools could be the epicenter for community transmission.
"Coronavirus spreads so much easier than Influenza does. There is no way that the schools don't end up becoming a center for this. I would be shocked if we make it very long through the semester before they go back to online learning," Dr. Roberts said.
As your kids go back to school, you'll want to keep an extra close eye on their health. Dr. Roberts recommends taking their temperature often and making sure they don't have any symptoms.
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