DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As the debate continues over whether North Texas children should go back to school or learn from home, the CBS 11 I-Team turned to health care professionals who are also parents to find out what decisions their families are making.
The I-Team asked one simple question: Do you plan to send your own children back to school in person?
Doctor Randy Naidoo is a board certified pediatrician with three children ages 16, 13 and 10.
The father of three says he and most of the providers in his Richardson office have no reservations about sending their children back to school in person.
“I think ultimately what we see from the studies, from the findings across the globe, that the younger age population is not impacted to the severity of the high risk of the elderly,” says Dr. Naidoo.
Family Nurse Practitioner Tiffany Hamilton has a 10 and 6-year-old who she is sending back to school.
She says she is concerned about them staying home.
“I think the impact it creates mentally on children is really hard and I think that’s just really not being talked about,” says Hamilton.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Chandra Garvey agrees.
She has two girls headed back in person to college and a junior headed back to high school.
“My husband and I feel very comfortable sending our girls to school. We also feel it’s very important for just their overall social well being and mental health,” says Garvey.
“Absolutely the older girl who is 24 is going back,” says Dr Elizabeth Stevenson.
The Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist fully supports sending her healthy step daughter back to the University of Texas in person where she is in nursing school; however, Dr. Stevenson and her husband are undecided about her sophomore in high school.
“She does have this history of having this illness in the past. Although the risk of that happening is low, it’s not zero. Once you’re a parent and you’ve been though that once, it makes you a little leery of risk like that in the future,” explains Stevenson.
Board-Certified Pediatric Dental Specialist Doctor Robert Morgan is familiar with high risk children. For more than 40 years, he’s operated on cardiac and cancer patients at Children’s Medical Center. He’s also a grandfather.
While explaining how he helped his children decide what to do with his 12 grandchildren, he pointed to a Back-To-School Guidance tool created by Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern Pediatric Group.
If your child has any type of medical condition, you can use the online tool to determine whether he or she is at low, moderate or high risk.
For example, Dr Morgan clicked on pulmonology and then asthma and then severity. He says this helped him determine that one of his grandchildren is at “moderate risk.”
This means remote learning is recommended. So he says that child and his two siblings will stay home.
Dr. Morgan says, “The other nine are going back to school. They are healthy. There are no questions in the family.”
Dr. Morgan says he found that most of the health care professionals he knows, who have healthy children, are sending them back to school in person this fall.
“Here in my practice, in my professional circles, and at the hospital, the bulk of the healthcare workers I’ve talked to, if their children are low risk, have elected that the benefit of returning to school outweighs the current risk. So most of the healthcare workers I’ve talked to have decided to start their kids.”
He, and several of the other healthcare professionals, emphasized that this is a personal decision and a fluid situation.
They tell the I-Team their decisions today could easily change tomorrow as this “novel virus” continues.