Handling Back to School Concerns Amidst COVID-19, Monkeypox, and Polio

This school year, with COVID-19, Monkeypox, and confirmed cases of Polio in NY state, cautious behavior is still important. Below I answer commonly asked questions regarding sending your child back to school this year.

Is it safe to send my child back to school with COVID-19 still present in the community?

COVID-19 continues to pose the highest risk of infection for children. If your child is over the age of 6 months and has not yet done so, get vaccinated!! If your child is eligible for the booster, get boosted! Vaccinations are the best way to prevent serious illness and/or hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Encourage your child to keep their distance, practice frequent hand hygiene, and wear their mask.

Is it safe to send my child back to school with the current Monkeypox crisis?

The current risk of children contracting Monkeypox is LOW. The current rate of transmission to children is less than one percent. I envision Monkeypox being more prevalent on college campuses due to how it is transmitted.

Monkeypox transmission occurs through prolonged contact between individuals. Note, Monkeypox is NOT considered a sexually transmitted infection as it can be contracted from non-sexual acts (sleeping in the same bed, sharing clothes, etc.)

To best protect your child, encourage frequent hand washing, social distancing, and masking – all practices that are already in place due to COVID-19.

Is it safe to send my child to school with confirmed cases of Polio in the community?

If you and your family are vaccinated against Polio you should not worry. The confirmed cases of Polio were an isolated incident in New York due to a community with high non-vaccination rates.

If your child is behind on vaccinations due to COVID-19, reach out to your pediatrician to adjust your child’s vaccination schedule and ensure they are protected from Polio and other viruses.

What are safety measures I can take at home to protect my child?

I recommend testing your child if they are feeling unwell or if they’ve been exposed to any illness. Choose to keep them at home until they are feeling better. Most schools will have policies in place for isolation protocols when it comes to COVID-19, but if not, I recommend isolating 5 days after your first positive test or 5 days after your child’s first symptoms began. After day 5, your child is technically able to return to school (unless otherwise noted by school policy) but must wear a mask for the next five days.

If one of your children is unwell, consider keeping your other children home from school or daycare as well to reduce the risk of transmission of other viral and bacterial illnesses.

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