Mayo pediatricians weigh in on COVID-19, kids, and returning to school

Before Governor Walz announced school districts will be able to choose how they return to class in the fall, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician and pediatric infectious disease physician answered questions on a Facebook livestream about reopening schools and transmission and symptoms of the virus in children.

Posted: Jul 30, 2020 6:40 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2020 6:34 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Just a few hours before Governor Walz announced school districts will be able to choose how they return to class in the fall, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician and pediatric infectious disease physician answered questions on a Facebook livestream about reopening schools and transmission and symptoms of the virus in children.

"A lot of teachers have really put forth a strong effort and really tried their best in the most difficult circumstances, but it's really challenging and I think everyone kind of wants to try and get back to quality education for kids and have these discussions to figure out how we can best achieve that," says Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse.

She explains that schools were closed in the spring becuase of professionals' knowledge of other infectious diseases. For example, children play a large role in transmitting influenza, and school closures have been helpful in the past to stop spread.

Now, researchers know more about COVID-19 and the role children play in the pandemic. Some studies show children under 10 are half as likely to transmit the virus as older children. Numbers are also showing children are more likely to have mild or no symptoms at all, though Rajapakse notes it's important to remember some children have become severely ill or died from COVID019. Also, many of these studies were done while schools were closed, so we won't fully know the impact until children return to school.

If your child's school is returning to in-person or hybrid learning in the fall, Dr. Rajapakse recommends getting your child used to mask wearing sooner than later. She also encourages families to be flexible, have plans in place in case a child's school closes because of an outbreak, and to keep kids home if they have any COVID-19 symptom, even if it's mild.

With the state leaving the decision to return to in-person learning or not up to the school districts, the doctors note that community spread is high in some areas of the state, and low in others. "Those different areas will be very different and it's really important that everyone look at what is going on in their local area and community as they try and make these decisions. We know that countries who have done this successfully, those are the countries that have reopened in person schooling in the setting of low rates of community transmission," explains Rajapakse.

Click here to watch the full recorded livestream.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56560

Reported Deaths: 1656
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18009819
Ramsey6944261
Dakota3991103
Anoka3365113
Stearns283120
Washington191743
Nobles17466
Olmsted162923
Scott139014
Mower10812
Rice9998
Blue Earth8525
Wright8135
Carver7792
Clay74540
Kandiyohi6761
Sherburne6497
St. Louis43619
Todd4202
Lyon4163
Freeborn3541
Steele3301
Nicollet31213
Benton3063
Watonwan2980
Winona24716
Crow Wing21313
Martin2045
Le Sueur2011
Beltrami1930
Chisago1791
Goodhue1768
Otter Tail1763
Cottonwood1710
Becker1431
Pipestone1439
Unassigned14040
McLeod1380
Itasca13212
Polk1313
Douglas1300
Waseca1280
Pine1270
Carlton1250
Dodge1230
Murray1221
Isanti1100
Chippewa981
Brown852
Faribault830
Meeker832
Morrison831
Wabasha810
Sibley792
Koochiching743
Rock740
Pennington721
Jackson700
Mille Lacs653
Fillmore610
Renville595
Cass582
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau460
Pope430
Houston390
Norman340
Redwood300
Kanabec291
Hubbard280
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Aitkin270
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake200
Lake180
Clearwater150
Stevens150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45774

Reported Deaths: 883
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9723203
Woodbury365151
Black Hawk300362
Linn210887
Johnson193315
Dallas178935
Buena Vista178512
Scott159312
Dubuque153729
Marshall138924
Pottawattamie121723
Story110914
Wapello84932
Muscatine82648
Webster7255
Crawford7193
Sioux5952
Cerro Gordo57617
Tama53729
Warren5281
Jasper45524
Plymouth4438
Wright4431
Louisa37914
Dickinson3754
Clinton3173
Washington28710
Hamilton2411
Boone2282
Franklin2205
Bremer1877
Clarke1863
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1650
Shelby1611
Marion1530
Allamakee1514
Poweshiek1468
Benton1431
Jackson1411
Des Moines1392
Mahaska13617
Floyd1292
Guthrie1265
Jones1242
Cedar1201
Hancock1172
Butler1142
Henry1133
Pocahontas1131
Buchanan1111
Lyon1020
Madison1022
Clayton983
Cherokee971
Harrison970
Lee953
Taylor930
Humboldt921
Delaware901
Monona900
Iowa891
Winneshiek851
Calhoun822
Mills820
Fayette810
Sac810
Palo Alto790
Kossuth780
Jefferson770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page760
Winnebago760
Grundy741
Union701
Monroe677
Worth610
Chickasaw510
Cass481
Davis481
Howard480
Lucas454
Montgomery433
Appanoose423
Greene380
Fremont350
Van Buren321
Keokuk301
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur220
Adair210
Ringgold211
Adams160
Wayne161
Unassigned80
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