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Coronavirus and schools: How the community contributes to spread

Medical experts say the community must take responsibility for coronavirus spread because it will dictate how our kids get back to school safely.

TAMPA, Fla. — As we watch the coronavirus numbers in Florida communities, the trends are similar to what we can expect to see in their respective local schools. 

Dr. Allison Mesina, a pediatric epidemiologist with John's Hopkins All Children's here in Tampa Bay said our community has to keep the rates low so we keep the rates low in our classrooms.

As part of the Pinellas County Schools Medical Advisory Board, she says the virus is not being spread in schools. 

She says if we have the disease in a community, we have to expect to see those cases in our schools, which we have. 

That is also being echoed across the country as medical experts try to track cases, which is proving difficult. 

"The community must take responsibility; and it's the behavior of the community that can ultimately dictate if we can get our children back to school safely, which I agree is best for student's mental health," says Dr. Wendy Armstrong with the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 

She says because there is no defined approach to in-person schooling, they cannot carefully compare the outcomes of schools that have universal masking with those that don't, or those with shortened days or weeks to those that have conventional schedules.

She says it's difficult to have clear guidelines for schools. 

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