For many students, school doors reopen on August 1st. This marks the third school year where students have had to adapt to shifting public health recommendations and changing learning conditions. As a country, we’re working to shift to life with COVID-19, while allowing safe and healthy returns to in-person interactions.
As parents and students prepare for another school year, Curative’s medical director, Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, weighs in on best practices to help ensure safety and good health under current CDC COVID-19 recommendations.
As we’ve adapted to life with COVID-19, what are some tips for students returning to campus in the fall?
We can all agree that learning under safe conditions while allowing students to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to thrive is crucial. As we’ve moved back into a full in-person classroom setting, we’re pleased to now see that it’s possible to return to school. The most important thing to note is that, if a student falls ill, they should know where and how to access testing and if needed, treatment. There are a number of respiratory illnesses circulating, including COVID-19, and symptoms can often be misattributed. It’s important to know where your nearest COVID-19 testing center is, and under the direction of their provider, how to get treatment, including oral antivirals, injectable medications, and more. We know that treatment is helpful in reducing the duration of symptoms, the risk of hospitalization and the spread of COVID-19.
Should students still be concerned about COVID-19?
Students, like all people, should be aware of the risks and challenges associated with COVID-19, especially if they are immunosuppressed or have pre-existing conditions like diabetes or obesity. Every student should operate with their own health concerns in mind, and stay diligent about the practices that keep them healthy.
How can students best be informed about their health status?
There are a number of ways for students to stay informed, from those in elementary school to those returning to a college campus. For those in primary or secondary school, making sure their parents or guardians have a pediatrician they can reach is important, as they can provide the most tailored information based on each student’s needs. For those on college campuses or away from home, there should be accessible healthcare services on campus that can provide guidance and resources. On a general level, it’s important for everyone to stay up to date on the latest news, from reading updates from the CDC, newsletters from your insurance provider or trusted health source and accessing reliable media outlets. At Curative, we have a regular newsletter with important COVID-19 and general health updates. To sign up for more information and regular updates, visit here.
What should parents do to help ensure their students remain healthy?
We’re here to help parents feel as comfortable as possible with their students returning to school. First, parents should ensure their students are up to date on their CDC recommended vaccinations. If parents aren’t sure, a pediatrician can provide the most relevant advice on an individual basis. As we’ve moved away from a COVID-Zero mentality and adapted to life with COVID-19, it’s most important to monitor children for symptoms, recognize complications early, and provide adequate treatment. As a parent when I had kids with COVID-19, I monitored my kids for signs of worsening illness, like difficulty breathing, shortness of breath with exertion, or fever for more than a few days.
When should students get tested?
Test as early as possible! When people develop a respiratory tract infection, regardless of whether they suspect it might be COVID-19, it’s important to take care of it quickly. When symptoms appear, they should get tested because they can then access early treatment. Early detection and treatment can help prevent serious illness and hospitalization. Treatments available are dependent on age, so check with your child’s provider to see how they can best help. We’re anticipating new and more comprehensive vaccines this Fall, which will boost antibodies against all new variants.
What should students do if they test positive?
If a student tests positive, there are a few things they can do — depending on if they’re eligible for treatment. If eligible, treatment can be prescribed through doctors, other clinicians, and nurse practitioners in-person or through telehealth. Oral treatments are widely available at your local university, campus, or health center through prescription to a local pharmacy.
If a student tests positive but is not eligible for treatment, they can address their symptoms with over-the-counter products – cough medicine, decongestants, anti-fever medicine, etc., to provide comfort and relief.
Should they get a healthcare administered test if they test positive with an at-home test?
There are some benefits to taking a healthcare administered test if you test positive at home. PCR tests work differently than at-home tests and can detect different stages of the virus than at-home tests. While at-home, over-the-counter tests are reliable, PCR is among the most accurate test methods for detecting COVID-19 early. Diagnostic testing with a PCR assay may be important to accessing early treatment and providing your primary care doctor or health insurer with the medical information they need to take action. The results of these diagnostic tests may also be used for documenting the disease for a variety of secondary purposes, including public health tracking, and for school and work purposes.
At Curative, we’ve learned a lot from COVID-19 testing and how access to testing allows everyone to get the information they need to help make informed healthcare decisions. As students head back into the classroom, staying up to date on their health status, monitoring symptoms, and early testing and treatment is crucial to keeping our school doors open and allowing students to reap the benefits of in-person learning.
Any opinions are those of the employees interviewed in their personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Curative Inc.
The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.