Flexibility important for parents as schools consider reopening plans, UF professor says

With school expected to start next month, some school districts are still planning out what reopening will look like, while others are already making changes to their approved plans.

“There is no one who would disagree that children need to learn, they need to socialize, they need to flourish,” said Lindsay Thompson, a pediatrician and professor at the University of Florida. What we don’t know is how all that intersects.”

Thompson said school and health officials have a difficult task planning and implementing the reopening of schools during the pandemic.

“We know that children get the virus, they transmit the virus, they can get sick. It seems to be less critical than adults and elderly,” Thompson said. “You have to be realistic, younger kids will have a difficult time wearing a mask and social distancing.”

With the expectation for reopening schools next month, Thompson said parents need to look at all of their options and make a decision that is best for their kids.

“Parents who have children with special healthcare needs, need to talk with their provider to see if they can make sense out of what is available to them at that time, and what their community rates of infection are,” Thompson said.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise state-wide forcing some school districts to change their plans including:

  • Seminole County schools delaying its start date to August 17.
  • The Marion County school board pushing back its opening date at least two weeks and requiring face covering in buildings.
  • The Orange County school district is installing UV light kits in the schools' ventilation systems for added sanitation.

All while counties like Volusia and Lake continue to finalize their plans for reopening.

Thompson said it’s important that parents remain flexible when it comes to the fall semester, as doctors and educators learn more about the virus and how it affects children.

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