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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 3 months ago

AdventHealth doctors: As schools reopen, don't let your guard down

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Taking precautions against COVID-19 should become 'a way of life right now.'
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

With schools reopening on Aug. 31 in Volusia County, and Aug. 24 in Flagler County, AdventHealth doctors said the best way to dampen what could become a third wave of COVID-19 infections is by continuing to take precautions.

During a morning briefing on Thursday, Aug. 13, Michael Keating, chief medical officer at AdventHealth for Children, said that the community let down its guard after the first wave and "paid the price" for it. Not following the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control, both in and out of the classroom, could place students, faculty members and their family at risk. 

Taking precautions, such as wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing, shouldn't fall only in the hands of students and their families, he added. Teachers should also be making sure they're setting an example, and Keating said children attending brick-and-mortar schools should speak up if they notice their teachers are not following CDC guidelines.

“Do the right things all the time," Keating said. "It should become a way of life right now.”

Dr. Angela Fals, medical director of the weight and wellness program at AdventHealth for Children, said the community has had to adapt quickly to all the changes implemented due to the coronavirus, and that continuing to be flexible is important.

“The environment can change," Fals said. 'The situation can change at any moment’s notice. You may start virtual and be able to transition to in-school for example, but then be ready to potentially go back to being virtual.”

Parents should remain informed, and teachers dealing with the extra stress should make time for self-care as well, Fal added. 

Should schools wait until the positivity rate is 5% or below to reopen? Keating said if safety measures are in place at school, there likely isn't an increased risk of COVID-19 infection with the current positivity rate. According to the Department of Health, Volusia County's positivity rate has ranged 5.4%-9% in the last week; Flagler County's ranged 3.1%-13%.

Keating was also asked if parents should get their children tested for COVID-19 despite not showing symptoms. He didn't recommend this.

“I think that would be a bit of a waste of resources," he said.

AdventHealth has also recently launched a webpage on school resources.Visit Backtoschoolresourcehub.com

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