SAN ANTONIO – Texas pediatricians are urging parents to strongly consider sending their children back to campus if and when it is safe to do so.
The Texas Pediatric Society (TPS) issued a list of reasons why they support the reopening of the school, including children’s emotional well-being, safety net services -- such as free meals -- and a safe place where things like child abuse can be spotted.
Dr. Tammy Camp, president of TPS, said she hears more and more from children that they want to return to the classroom.
“We’re seeing an increase in mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, just due to the social isolation that kids have felt over the course of this pandemic,” she said.
She said she knows parents have hesitations, but there is a silver lining to the situation.
“I think parents -- it’s natural to be nervous. The positive thing about this is that children have not been affected by this disease to the same degree as adults,” Camp said.
Veronica Cardenas, the mother of South San ISD fifth grad student Vivian Hernandez, said she’s not convinced that that’s what’s best for her child.
“There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. You know, safety. Her safety is my first priority,” Cardenas said about her child.
Vivian wanted to do a lot of things during her last year of elementary school, but she felt comfortable with online learning and is a little worried about going back to school.
“I wouldn’t want to take the risk of going to school ... and having to social distance or wear masks, maybe wear gloves and wash your hands all the time,” Vivian said.
Cardenas is monitoring the situation and doesn’t know if she will change her mind later in the school year.
In a KSAT.com poll, 75% of parents said they would not be sending their school-aged child back to school in the fall. Those who said they would say they had discussed it with their child, and that’s what the child wanted.
Camp said parents need to be flexible with their plans. She also said she’d like to see more accountability that online learning works, that students retain the information and that face-to-face help is available for those who need it.
She said she worries that not sending a child to school in person could have a longer-lasting impact, especially for those who are already at a disadvantage.