Doctors: Social distancing, masks are back to school staples

Doctors: Social distancing, masks are back to school staples

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (WAVE) - As school districts struggle to establish ways to get students back in classrooms safely, local doctors are stressing that masks and social distancing need to be figured into any plans to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

While many parents can’t wait to end non-traditional instruction for their children at home, others, like Rebekah Hardin of Oldham County, are a little nervous.

“Watching them go through the non-traditional instruction, it was challenging,” Hardin told WAVE 3 News.

She wonders if other parents will take safety precautions as seriously as her family is. Hardin said she’s ready for her kids to be back in the classroom, but she is concerned about her teen daughter and her friends.

“I’ve seen some of these teenagers, especially when they get out and they’re supposed to be social distancing, they just magnetize closer and closer,” she explained.

Hardin believes it’s up to parents to constantly remind kids to practice these new habits.

“We’re going to have to be a broken record on that one,” she said.

She plans to remind her children that while it’s natural to want to be close to people, right now safety comes first. Hardin said she doesn’t envy the watchdog duties educators will have to add next school year, but with her experience working in a doctor’s office, she and her colleagues understand how important being cautious of spreading the virus is.

Doctors suggest masks and social distancing need to be figured into any school reopening plans to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus. Source: WBRC video
Doctors suggest masks and social distancing need to be figured into any school reopening plans to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus. Source: WBRC video

“I’ve been wearing a mask all day every day at work, so I’m familiar with some of the annoyances of it,” Dr. Michael Petry, who works with Hardin at Norton Community Medical Associates in Crestwood, said.

Annoying or not, he believes wearing a mask will be vital at times for students when they must be within six feet of each other.

“Unfortunately if that ends up being the rule, people who can’t tolerate the mask may need to stay home,” he said.

Petry says students and staff with increased risk for infection will also have a tough decision to make about going back to school. He reminds parents that sick children should never be sent to school.

The doctor also maintains class size, clean buildings, safety signage around schools, hand washing and social distancing are key to keeping kids in the classroom and not at home doing non-traditional instruction.

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