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Local pediatrician says data and science should determine school reopenings

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 04:55:41-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Parents nationwide are having a conversation about their kids and whether it’s safe to send them back to school. It comes as Governor Ron DeSantis pushes to get students back for the Fall semester. “Families are on a daily basis asking me what should I do what should I do?” said Dr. Mona Mangat, owner of Bay Area Allergy and Asthma in St. Petersburg. “It’s an extremely complicated situation and unfortunately, there’s a clear lack of leadership on this.”

Dr. Mangat sees patients considered most vulnerable to COVID-19 at her practice.

“There are too many unknowns to just send your kid out there who has asthma or an immunodeficiency and not think twice or think five times about it,” she said.

And while she knows there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach, she believes the state opened too soon, which explains the tremendous spike in local cases.

“Do I think so? Yes, I definitely think so 100%,” she said. “The part about it that bothers me the most is it there seems to be a lack of the ability to reflect on our decisions and maybe that they were bad decisions.”

It’s why she thinks the rush to get kids physically back in the classroom may not be a wise choice.

“I wish we could just really focus on the data and the science right now,” she said. “Because that’s what’s going to save us. That’s what’s going to get us to the other side of this, not the politics.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics even updated its guidance Friday in a press release saying, “We should leave it to health experts to tell us when the time is best to open up school buildings.”

The release goes on to say, “areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen against the judgment of local experts.”

“Everybody has to make their own decision. It’s a risk-benefit analysis for each family but you have to confident that the information you are using to make that decision is the best information you can get,” said Dr. Magnat. “I think that -- at times -- seems questionable whether we’re really getting the kind of data that we need to make these decisions.”

She says if you are concerned about certain information you see on social media, you should ask your doctor for advice.

Read the full statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics here.