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Tampa Bay area doctors give advice on back to school as summer winds down

Posted at 9:44 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 23:28:39-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Thousands of kids across the Tampa Bay Area will go back to the classroom in just two weeks. Local doctors shared everything from the pandemic to other reminders parents should keep in mind before sending students back to the classroom.

Soon, kids will trade days in the park for days in the classroom. Peter Zimmer shared how he’s getting his kids ready for day one of school.

“We’re making sure that we have all the back to school supplies in order, starting the new bedtime routine,” said Zimmer.

It’s another start to a school year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We make sure that we’re still sanitized, wash the hands, make sure we keep the distance as much as possible, mask as needed as well,” said Zimmer.

This go around, the CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone six months and older, as well as boosters for everyone five years and older, if eligible.

Dr. Allison Messina, the chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, reminds parents the COVID vaccines are available right now, she said although they are not as good at preventing mild disease, still protect very well against severe disease.

“Every school-age child at least has the opportunity to be vaccinated, so I would recommend that parents talk to their pediatricians about what’s best for their individual child moving forward now that we have that as an option,” said Dr. Messina.

Dr. Messina also explained what else parents should keep in mind aside from COVID-19.

“This is a good time of year if your child has not been to the pediatrician in a little while to get them up to date just on their other vaccines if they are not up to date yet, to get them those physicals, sports physicals, etc. to get them prepared to at least have a healthy as possible start to the new school year,” said Dr. Messina.

Emily Mellor’s two kids are preparing for VPK and 1st grade, one of many families putting the final touches together as summer winds down and a new school year begins.

“I will send hand sanitizer just to make sure he’s washing his hands, keeping his space, and we’ll just have to go for it,” said Mellor.