INDIANAPOLIS — Summer is just beginning but school districts around the state are getting ready for students to return for the first time since health officials declared a COVID-19 pandemic back in March.
Experts are weighing in on students returning to the classroom and whether or not parents should send their children back in the middle of a global pandemic.
"Ultimately, these are case-by-case decisions that have to be weighed by the family and they have to make a joint decision on what is best for their particular situation," Dr. Cole Beeler, IU Health infectious disease physician, said.
The decision about whether to send students back to school depends on the family and who lives in the household that could possibly be at risk, experts said.
"The child I would consider not to be at a whole lot of risk even though it is possible," Beeler said. "It is rare but if the child lives with someone going through chemotherapy or had heart failure or was over 65 all of those things would be concerning to me."
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Beeler said there's a wave of coronavirus cases on the way which is something parents may want to consider while deciding whether to send their student back to the classroom or keep distance learning.
"I expect in the next few weeks we are going to be seeing more cases and we will see a flair," Beeler said. "Kids are less likely to spread the disease than what was originally thought."
Takiyah Lewis runs BK Interventions, an initiative designed to keep scholars soaring. She's also a parent so she sees both sides of the debate over sending children back to the classroom during the pandemic.
"I am a parent first and I have to do what is in the best interest of my child and that's the same advice I want other parents to take as well," Lewis said. "You know your child best. You know their capabilities and what they are inclined to do."
Some schools have released return to school plans while others are still at the drawing board. Those plans include making sure students wear a mask during the school day, reserving and limiting spots on school buses, rotating playground zones, increased disinfecting and not allowing school visitors.
Beeler said some of those guidelines are realistic, others not so much.
"Really it will be very difficult to expect kids to keep masks on their faces the entire day and that is okay, kids are mobile," Beeler said.