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The Many Ways Opening Schools Could Go Wrong

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 43 years experience.

Medscape

8/10/20

Quote

The Many Ways Opening Schools Could Go Wrong

...The dilemma of what to do about schools during a pandemic has opened a floodgate of opinions written by a whole host of experts and not-so-experts recently. I hope to add something useful to that mix.

Point 1. All kids are not alike. Older kids transmit like adults. It's hard to say that high schools "drove" the surge in Israel following wide reopening, but it's clear that they didn't help matters.

Point 2. Studies of household transmission in kids are biased. Look for symptoms to detect index cases and you're not going to catch the kids, who are less likely to have symptoms. Did I mention that nonsymptomatic transmission is a thing?

Point 3. Schools are hard to study because we closed them early in the pandemic and at a point when we didn't really have good testing. Understanding what did happen is hard enough; what would have happened is even harder to guess. ...

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/935506

1 hour ago, NRSKarenRN said:

It's hard to say that high schools "drove" the surge in Israel following wide reopening, but it's clear that they didn't help matters.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/world/middleeast/coronavirus-israel-schools-reopen.html

This article initially implied that the surge was related to school opening but if you read the comments from some of the Israelis what actually happened is that everything completely re-opened, including the schools, at the same time.

It also didn't help that they decided to forgo masks for 4 days because it was "too hot".

"Then a heat wave hit. Parents complained that it was inhumane to make children wear masks in steaming classrooms where open windows nullified the air conditioning.

In response, the government exempted everyone from wearing masks for four days, and schools shut the windows."

So it sounds like they did everything wrong. I'm not sure we should use this as a cautionary tale against opening schools but more as one on how not to open schools...and everything else...and also wear a darn mask.

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 10 years experience.

4 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/world/middleeast/coronavirus-israel-schools-reopen.html

This article initially implied that the surge was related to school opening but if you read the comments from some of the Israelis what actually happened is that everything completely re-opened, including the schools, at the same time.

It also didn't help that they decided to forgo masks for 4 days because it was "too hot".

"Then a heat wave hit. Parents complained that it was inhumane to make children wear masks in steaming classrooms where open windows nullified the air conditioning.

In response, the government exempted everyone from wearing masks for four days, and schools shut the windows."

So it sounds like they did everything wrong. I'm not sure we should use this as a cautionary tale against opening schools but more as one on how not to open schools...and everything else...and also wear a darn mask.

Wuzzie, I love your posts. We have places all over the country where masks are optional. This is the reality and yes, the article sums up what I've been saying: We can either open the schools or the bars but you have to pick one.

I lived through a needlestick in the days before "universal precautions" existed, and two years as a TB nurse with a pt who was a "supershedder" - he had probable extrapulmonary TB (maybe laryngeal which I have not hear of since). I managed not to be exposed to Hep C, Hep B, and TB because I have universal precautions and I use them. I have 100% faith in the equipment I have. I have much less faith in the decisions of parents.

Parents will send sick kids to school with or without masks. Kids will choose to wear them or not (or may be unable to wear a mask, say a special prayer for teachers of kids in enclosed classrooms).

The only thing we can do is protect OURSELVES. American College of Medical Toxicology says that a surgical mask + face shield + six feet are good for ambulatory care nurses. N95+face shield if I cannot be a kangaroo length away from you. I've put my hair up (not my best look), I invested in two washable surgical bonnets and two lab coats because I am not sure what my district has for me. And I am wearin' the heck out of all of that because the recommendations from the CDC have been efficacious all of my life.

Pray for the teachers and hope they have face shields plus masks. This all goes south when the teachers go down and I don't see any superintendants or school board members being willin' to step in.

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