Frequently Asked Questions about Schools Re-opening
Updated August 9, 2020
As students, parents, teachers, school staff and administrators tackle the complex issue of schools re-opening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many have turned to their trusted pediatricians as sources of information. We have gathered the most frequently asked questions about schools re-opening from the 80+ members of our chapter’s School Health Committee and have provided answers here, with supporting scientific references when available, with the hope that this information helps all involved with this complex topic
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans – the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. The virus (SARS-CoV-2) causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
VIDEO: LA County DPH Officer on Immunizations
April 9, 2020 – Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer emphasizes the importance of childhood immunizations during the current COVID-19 Pandemic.
Due to local conditions, each county’s Public Health Department may have put out differing guidelines for testing, compared to the CDC.
Free COVID-19 Testing: The City of Los Angeles, in partnership with the County of Los Angeles and CORE (Community Organized Response Effort), is providing free COVID-19 testing to Los Angeles County residents. See more >>
Furthermore, review the guidelines as specified on the LA County website (Scroll down to the 3rd box titled “Laboratory Testing”
Per the Ventura County website, “symptomatic please call your primary care doctor for your health questions. Your primary care doctor would make the recommendation for COVID-19 testing. If you do not have a primary care provider, please visit Find a Doctor. You do not need to contact Public Health to request a test. Your doctor will contact Public Health if your test is positive.”
Kern County. See Includes “Stay at Home Guidance” and “Stop the Spread”.
Los Angeles County. See the “What You Should Know” section (Includes “What if I’m exposed.
Guidance for Health Care Providers
The AAP-CA2 Committee on Practice & Ambulatory Medicine (COPAM) developed the following COVID-19 Practice Safety Guidelines as recommended measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines apply to pediatric practices in the counties of Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, and Ventura.
Please visit the link to your respective county below, as health departments are dealing with COVID-19 differently due to variance in case load and resources.
Kern County provided as links at the bottom of their page
Los Angeles County (Guidance, including Isolation)
Riverside County provided as Toolkits, center/mid page.
San Luis Obispo County shown on left under “Other resources”.
Santa Barbara County Multiple links and sign-up for Provider Alerts (to fax in)
San Bernardino County, Multiple links under “Guidance for Healthcare Providers”. Includes Key Points for Testing | Guidance for Clinicians | Testing
Ventura County has links and a number to call
We want to thank Hippo Education for making their platform available at no cost during this pandemic.
Consider subscribing to Hippo PedsRap to support their efforts. Monthly podcasts cover case-based, clinically relevant pediatric topics and pearls. Includes CME credit. AAP members get 3 months free! (Promo code: AAP3FREE)
National AAP Resources
- AAP Guidance: Telehealth Payer Policy in Response to COVID-19, which outlines policy changes aiming to alleviate barriers to telehealth care. We also offer a webinar on telehealth and guidance on structuring your practice during the pandemic.
- The CDC has updated the priorities for testing patients with suspected COVID-19 infection. This guidance prioritizes health care professionals and first responders to receive testing. It also recommends more aggressive testing (even for milder cases) in communities where there are more COVID-19 hospitalizations.
- AAP recommends pediatricians continue to see newborns, infants and younger children who need immunizations. However, we further recommend deferring all well child visits over 18 months because boosters due at 4 years old can be given within the 4 – 6 yo time frame. See the AAP Guidance on well-child visits
- The CDC offers recommendations on maintaining children’s immunizations and well-child visits during the pandemic.
- HealthyChildren.org has new articles with advice on formula shortages and information for families of children with special health care needs.
Telehealth Billing Codes
If your child is sick, keep your child home
- Avoid group playdates or parties indoors
- Avoid crowded activities (playgrounds, movie theaters, gymnastics, ice skating rinks, etc.), even if they’re still open
- COVID-19 Information for Parents, on HealthyChildren.Org
Positive Parenting & COVID-19: 10 Tips, Click here
From Ventura County, watch Dr. Chris Landon explain the current situation as the rise in COVID-19 cases would exceed the number of ventilators in Ventura. “Please stay home… but don’t congregate together”.
Para Padres y Madres de Familia
Si sus pequeños estan enfermos, manténgalos en casa
- Evite invitaciones de amiguitos o fiestitas, y actividades en grupo (parques, cines, gimnasios, patinaje sobre hielo, etc.), inclusive si dichos lugares permaneces abiertos.
- Información para Padres, (en Español) HealthyChildren.Org
Crianza positiva durante el COVID-19: 10 consejos, oprima aqui
En Español: El Dr. Ilan Shapiro (Pediatra) explica la situacion actual y provee recomendaciones para padres y madres de familia. Cuídense y quédense en casa. Visiten la página de la Academia Americana de Pediatría
Other Public Health Entities
CA Department of Public Health
San Diego: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/coronavirus/
COVID-19 Global Impact
Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering Dashboard
Developed to provide researchers, public health authorities, and the general public with a user-friendly tool to track the outbreak as it unfolds.