COVID-19: Pediatrician Urges Families To Be ‘Patient And Flexible’ During Back To School

Aug 19, 2020, 8:08 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s back to school time for more than a dozen school districts in Utah on Wednesday, and a Utah pediatrician is urging families to be patient and flexible during the reopening process amid the pandemic.

With research and knowledge constantly changing around COVID-19, it can be hard for parents to keep track of everything.

Dr. Ryan Gottfredson with Utah Valley Pediatrics joined KSL Today to answer viewer questions as families send their children back to school.

One KSL TV viewer asked how wearing masks will affect children who have asthma.

Gottfredson said wearing masks could actually be beneficial for those students.

“There’s some decent research that suggests that wearing a mask may in fact benefit people with asthma and its ability to filter out many particulate matters in the air – pollen, dust and so forth,” he said.

He added that mask wearing is going to help prevent asthmatic students from contracting viral infections – such as COVID-19.

Parents should keep in constant contact with their children’s pediatrician for the best advice, though, as mask wearing will also depend on how severe a patient’s asthma is.

Gottfredson also clarified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on the 15-minute exposure rule.

According to the CDC, a person who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 6 feet is recommended to stay home for 14 days while monitoring for symptoms.

“The idea here is that time matters,” Gottfredson said. “Time and contact with someone with this infection is going to impact your risk for getting it yourself.”

Those who are at higher risk of contracting the virus also need to be doing everything they can to stay safe, the doctor reiterated. This also means people around them should be making an effort to slow the spread, too. This is done by washing hands constantly, social distancing when possible, and wearing a mask when social distancing isn’t an option.

“It is important to realize that SARS-CoV-2, this virus that causes COVID-19, still is a very serious virus and we need to take it seriously,” he said.

“We need to just work together as a community with our neighbors and friends and school administrators just to roll with this and make it,” he added. “… We just need to be patient with this process and watch and take it a day or a week at a time, and be able to be flexible and adjustable as needed.”

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COVID-19: Pediatrician Urges Families To Be ‘Patient And Flexible’ During Back To School