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Mitigating the Effect of COVID in Children: The Struggle Continues 
Oct. 19, 2022


Mitigating the Effect of COVID in Children: The Struggle Continues
Allen Geller, RN, MPH, from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health discusses COVID-19 in children. COVID-19 is still a serious pandemic in the United States with 350 to 400 total deaths per day. Children can get COVID-19 and develop serious disease. A common misconception is that children do not spread the disease, but they can spread it to both teachers and caregivers. Schools are one of the great reservoirs for transmission of COVID. For school safety, during high levels of community spread, masking, rapid testing and cohorting are strategies which should be implemented. Students should be vaccinated before the start of the school year. One of the goals for adequate ventilation is at least 6 air exchanges per hour which has led to better health outcome and is important for cognition and reducing school absences. During the pandemic there was approximately a doubling of absenteeism.
• Push for districts to promote vaccinating a large number of 5 to 11 year olds that are still not vaccinated.
• Work with districts to rebuild their COVID dashboards.
• Regular testing of children is supported by two-thirds of parents. Make provisions of rapid antigen tests opt-out rather than opt-in. There is strong support for providing take home rapid tests.
• Strongly reconsider remasking in periods of surges reviewing week by week attendance data.
• Wastewater testing has the potential of being used to monitor for the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in schools.
• School based attendance records are also important triggers for medical and public health review.
• Portable CO2 monitors should be used to monitor air quality in school rooms.
Health Watch USAsm meeting, Oct. 19, 2022.


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