Local pediatrician says masks are best protection against COVID-19 in schools

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Chatham County, many students are returning to the classroom.

Parents have shared their concerns about sending their children back to school amid rising COVID-19 cases with WSAV News 3.

Experts say there is no one way to completely stop the virus in schools. But multiple layers of protection can help reduce the spread among students.

“I get it. I have kids in school too. I’m a little nervous about it. But COVID is here to stay and so I think we’re learning how to reduce risk factors,” said SouthCoast Health pediatrician Dr Blaine Crosland .

dr. Crosland said children can easily carry the virus and spread it quickly — a reversal of what health officials previously believed in the pandemic. But returning to personal learning remains a top priority for pediatricians.

“I think there are countless social and educational benefits for kids going to school,” said Dr. crossland. “I think we can do it in a safe way so schools don’t close because half the school has COVID and we don’t have any teachers to come in.”

dr. Crosland said the best way to keep students healthy in school is to wear a mask.

“Most pediatricians agree that children should wear masks when they are at school,” she said. “We believe it is important that children are personally at school and that wearing masks will enable them to stay in school and stay healthy.”

According to Dr. Crosland masks have also been shown to slow the spread of other diseases, including the flu.

Savannah-Chatham County’s public school system, which resumed personal learning on Wednesday, is one of four in the Coastal Empire to require masks for students and staff.

dr. Crosland also advises children to wash their hands regularly, quarantine if they are exposed to the virus or feel sick, and consider getting the COVID vaccine if they are eligible.

Concerns about COVID in children go beyond physical health. dr. Crosland said she has seen an increase in anxiety and depression during the pandemic and with back to school.

“Kids have been home for the past year. They are very concerned about possibly getting sick while they are in school,” she said. “I think it’s important to check in with your kids every day when they come in, really take the time to debrief, to see how they’re doing.”

With the return to a consistent school schedule, Dr. Crosland that will reduce mental health problems in children. If your child shows symptoms of anxiety or depression, Dr. Crosland to contact your doctor.

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