Are You Ready for Things to Open Up Again?

Ready or not, more and more businesses are opening up since the initial stay at home orders began to expire last month.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Winston Churchill

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is over…

Opening Up Again During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While the COVID-19 pandemic likely won’t be over until we have a vaccine in 12 to 18 months, it does seem reasonable for things to open up a bit as we have more PPE, more testing, and we have passed the surge in cases in most areas.

If we aren’t careful though, cases will surge again, which is likely on every parent’s mind as they wonder if they should send their child back to daycare, send them to summer camp, play sports, or go on a trip this summer, etc.

“Although most cases reported among children to date have not been severe, clinicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and monitor for progression of illness, particularly among infants and children with underlying conditions.”

Information for Pediatric Healthcare Providers

So can you safely send your kids back to doing the things they were doing before the COVID-19 pandemic struck?

Unfortunately, there is no one right answer for everyone, but it might be a good idea to continue staying home, even as things open up, if:

  • your child has a chronic health condition that might put them at high risk to get a severe case of COVID-19
  • someone in your household has a condition that might put them at high risk to get a severe case of COVID-19, including that they are elderly or have a chronic medical condition
  • your child frequently gets sick, seemingly catching everything very easily, even if they are otherwise healthy
  • you or your child will obsessively worry about COVID-19 if they begin to do more things

It would be an especially good idea to continue staying home if there are still a lot of cases in your area or if cases are on the rise.

What are the consequences if you make a mistake and send your kids back too soon?
What are the consequences if you make a mistake and send your kids back too soon?

On the other hand, if your child is otherwise healthy and cases are not on the rise in your area, you likely don’t have to feel overly concerned about putting them in daycare if you have to go back to work.

“Based on AAP and CDC recommendations, childcare centers should screen for symptoms and temperatures prior to admitting children and staff into their facilities. As a parent, it is reasonable and appropriate to ask the daycare what types of precautions the center has put in place to limit risk to children. There is no formal recommendation that children should not return to daycare, and unless the child is symptomatic or has a known COVID+ exposure, they should not be excluded from daycare. “

Texas Pediatric Society

Similarly, if your child isn’t doing well being cooped up at home, easing up on home isolation might be a good idea.

As your kids do begin to do more things, they should understand that it will remain important to:

  • wash their hands frequently, using hand sanitizer if soap isn’t available
  • wear a cloth covering to cover their nose and mouth
  • avoid sharing drinks, towels, or sports equipment, etc., with other people
  • maintain social distancing and avoid unnecessary contact (high fives, etc.)
  • avoid anyone who seems sick, especially if they have a cough or fever
  • stay home if they become sick, seeking medical attention if necessary

As your kids do more things, it might also be reasonable to limit these activities to the same groups of people.

What else?

Make sure your kids are up-to-date on their vaccines!

No, we won’t have a COVID-19 vaccine for some time, but the pandemic has gotten in the way of some kids getting vaccinated and protected. As international travel opens up, the drop in vaccination coverage will easily lead to another problem – outbreaks of measles, chickenpox, and other vaccine preventable diseases.

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