Should you plan to send your child back to school in the fall?

Thursday, June 18, 2020
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Should you plan to send your child back to campus in the fall? ABC13 learned there are many factors that school districts have to take into consideration before finalizing a plan.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Many parents are raising concerns as school districts try to lay out a plan for reopening schools in the Fall. ABC13 learned there are many factors that school districts have to take into consideration before finalizing a plan.

Dr. Sheldon Kaplan is a professor and Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, as well as the Head of Infectious Disease Services at Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. Kaplan said from the cases he has seen, children who have tested positive for COVID-19 have contracted the disease from a family member.

"So they have a parent or an older sibling who tested positive, not so much from just being out in the community," Dr. Kaplan said.

When it comes to reopening schools, Dr. Kaplan said there will be risks of exposure, but how severe the risk will be depends on the number of cases in the community during that time.

"There will be more people around and certainly more social interaction, so there will be a risk," Dr. Kaplan said. "Now, some of the risk is going to be dependent on what's going on in the community. At least right now, we're at moderate risk. What the situation will be in August, possibly September, there is no telling," Dr. Kaplan said.

SEE ALSO: Fort Bend ISD focusing on what school will look like in fall

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if schools only had virtual classes, the risk of spreading COVID-19 would be low. But if all students return to the traditional classroom setting, it could pose a high risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Splendora ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeff Burke said the school districts have to take into consideration several factors, including transportation, class size numbers, expanded lunch hour times, temperature checks, cleaning and disinfecting areas, whether students and staff will be required to wear masks.

"We're going to do everything we can do to keep our students and staff safe," Dr. Burke said. "We want them to come back. We miss our kids. We miss our teachers, We know that parents need their kids back in school so they can work. We just want to make sure that we're delivering the best instruction in the safest environment as possible."

Dr. Burke said the district is also waiting on guidance from the Texas Education Agency and possible funding for the upcoming school year that could impact the three scenarios that the district is planning for.

SEE ALSO: Texas Education Agency wants school districts to extend 2020-2021 school year

A spokesperson with the TEA said the guidance announcement was postponed and could happen next week or later.

Dr. Kaplan suggests for parents to start teaching their children social distancing practices, wearing a mask when feasible and packing disinfecting wipes to take with them to school.

"Just try to pay attention to wearing a mask when that's feasible and not being around a bunch of kids at school again, as much as they can do that and be teenagers and normal kids," Dr. Kaplan said. "I think probably by the time school starts, I'd like to think if the schools have the desks properly placed and they have the time of coming and going down, so they are minimizing as much as possible large crowds inside the school, that that might be safer than going to an airport."

Read more about the CDC considerations for schools.