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Pediatric infectious disease specialist in favor of kids going back in to school

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Posted at 8:50 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-01 00:49:19-04

As CCISD announced its plans for students to return to the classroom, a local infectious disease doctor weighs in.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital Infectious Diseases specialist Dr. Jaime Fergie tells KRIS 6 he’s in favor of children returning to school.

He said not only is it important for their education, but in taking a look at the data, kids aren’t the ones spreading the virus in the community.

He also said it’s rare if their symptoms become life-threatening if they do get the virus.

“I want to give a message of reassurance to the parents in relation to the health of the children,” Fergie said. “The children are not the ones responsible for spreading this illness. Although they do get sick, and get COVID-19, they almost never get very sick.”

Fergie said that while Driscoll Children’s Hospital does treat about two to three COVID-19 patients a day, the childrens symptoms are far less severe than adults.

He said that many times, a child who tests positive for the virus recovers quickly, and in most cases, they stay at the hospital no more than a day or two.

However, those numbers at local hospitals treating adults are much different.

“Look at the adult hospitals in the community,” Fergie said. “They’re full of patients in intensive care, and it’s a very, very severe situation.”

In fact, during the beginning of the pandemic, Driscoll Children's Hospital had an entire floor dedicated to treating novel coronavirus patients. That floor has since returned to normal operations because there’s no need or demand for it.

Fergie said the bigger concern in a school setting is transmission from adult-to-adult or adult-to-child.

“The teachers need to be careful between themselves," Fergie said. "That's my main concern."

Nonetheless some parents KRIS 6 News spoke to are still a little worried about sending their kids back to school.

“There are going to be other people in the classroom, and I don’t know if they’re going to be practicing social distancing,” said Anissa Grant, who is a parent to a 4 year old. “It concerns me a little bit. I’m not too scared, but she’s (my child) not going to be going back any time soon.”

Fergie also mentioned distance learning for the upcoming school year may be a better option for kids with underlying or severe medical conditions.