Your Health: Protecting students against COVID-19 in the classroom

Protecting Against COVID-19 (Jaden Jefferson)

TOLEDO, Ohio — As students head back to school, cases of COVID-19 are being reported in classrooms across the country, which has many parents concerned. So, what can they do to keep their children safe?

“We are now seeing more and more children get infected and get sick, especially if they have underlying lung problems, like asthma, which is extremely common, or problems with their immune system, or problems with development,” says Frank Esper, MD, an infectious disease specialist for the Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Esper said the CDC has made it a priority for kids to return to learning in-person and has laid out safety recommendations for schools. The federal agency encourages all students to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Currently, only children 12 years and older are eligible for the vaccine. Hand washing and social distancing are also strongly encouraged.

Dr. Esper knows some parents may still be hesitant about the vaccine, however, it’s going to be the best line of defense to protect your child.

“These vaccines have shown to be very effective and very safe in children. We watch everybody very closely to make sure there are no severe side effects. But, we can tell you that the infection can be very severe, so when we balance the benefits and risks, the benefits far outweigh the risk,” he said.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 in children include fever, chills, cough, nasal congestion and loss of taste or smell. If you suspect your child is sick, you should contact your family physician.

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