STUDENT WELLNESS

Pediatrician Weighs In On ‘Modified Quarantine’ Measures For Utah Schools

Jul 31, 2020, 8:17 AM | Updated: 8:27 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Now that Utah’s school districts have announced their back-to-school plans, parents in most parts of the state are faced with the choice of having their children attend classes online on in-person.

Dr. Ryan Gottfredson, with Utah Valley Pediatrics, joined KSL Today on Friday to help parents better understand the situation so they can make informed decisions.

He also had some helpful information for teachers, as well.

One KSL TV viewer who teaches small children wanted to know if a clear face shield was an adequate alternative to a face mask. She said it’s crucial for students to see how the mouth is formed to create certain sounds.

“The data on face shields is not quite as robust as the data on face masks,” Gottfredson said. “But I think that might be something that could be a viable option. If a teacher is physically distancing – 6 feet away or more from their students – I’d say that becomes a more viable option at that point.”

“I think it’s definitely worth exploring,” he added.

Another parent wanted to know Gottfredson’s opinion on the Utah Department of Health’s recent COVID-19 guidelines for schools, specifically when it comes to what health officials are calling a “modified quarantine.”

Under a modified quarantine, children who have been exposed to the virus can still attend school if they’re not showing symptoms, according to the UDOH. Teachers and employees at the school may also go to work during quarantine if their employer allows it.

It’s a process that state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said has been utilized for essential employees throughout the outbreak, and it has been successful.

“Now that we’re kind of loosening up a little bit with school, we will just have to see where this goes,” Gottfredson said.

He said that because of the known negative effects on children not attending school, then there needs to be a starting point to get those students back into the classrooms.

“I will be interested to see how this plays out,” he said.

Gottfredson noted that it’s possible to have COVID-19 and not show symptoms, though it’s more common for children not to show symptoms than adults.

He said the current data suggests that younger children have a harder time spreading the virus than adults do.

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Pediatrician Weighs In On ‘Modified Quarantine’ Measures For Utah Schools