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Local Doctor Discusses Safest Ways for Students to Return to Classrooms in August

Local Doctor Discusses Safest Ways for Students to Return to Classrooms in August

As students return to local schools in August during the rise of the Delta variant, Lyssette Cardona, M.D., discusses safety and health recommendations to ensure students remain healthy in the classroom while receiving a good education. Cardona is the Chair of Infectious Diseases, Occupational Health and Wellness at Cleveland Clinic Martin Health.

Cardona stated, “There are many things to take into consideration when planning and preparing.” When considering stringent health and safety practices that should be implemented when compared to other previous variants, Cardona said, “The pandemic continues to be a fluid situation, and we are monitoring CDC guidelines, advice, and recommendations. We do know that the Delta variant is more transmissible than other variants we have seen thus far.”

She recommended that the most effective thing parents and educators can do is to get the vaccine. “Every parent of children who are 12 years old and older should consult with their medical provider and follow their advice,” Cardona said.

Considering that 70% of children in Florida have yet to be vaccinated, and there are approximately 280 cases of the Delta variant reported in the state so far, it is important to follow the recommendations set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“We should continue to follow safety precautions set by the CDC such as handwashing and social distancing. If you are in crowded areas where you cannot maintain social distancing, wear your mask. Masks are required at Cleveland Clinic Florida hospitals and outpatient clinics in Broward, Palm Beach, and the Treasure Coast,” explained Cardona.

When asked whether children were more susceptible to the Delta variant, Cardona said, “We do not know if children are more susceptible to the Delta variant, but we are continuing to monitor as more data about the variant becomes available.”

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She advised educators, parents, and students to do as much as they can to prevent exposure to the virus and to keep children safe in the classroom. “Prevention measures, including vaccination, are effective. Wear your mask when needed. Remain healthy and schedule doctor visits for routine screenings. Take care of your mental health and emotional wellness. Take care of your family in a holistic way. Remain optimistic that if we work together as a community, we can defeat the pandemic,” concluded Cardona.

Considering the virus, the school district has introduced a comprehensive plan to reopen schools for the new school year which focuses on keeping all children and staff safe and healthy, while maintaining a good standard of education.

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