Educators and medical professionals are making tough choices when planning for the school year. While some schools are implementing virtual learning classes, others are reopening classrooms for in-person instructions, and some schools are combining both methods. For pediatricians caring for children, we follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for schools choosing to reopen and support the education system in providing children with more opportunities to grow and learn throughout the year.

But as a parent, making a choice each day to send your child to school can present a lot of risks because not only can your child potentially catch COVID-19, but spread it to family members and others throughout the community. As pediatricians, it’s our goal to help guide parents during this time and provide them with the tools needed to keep children safe.

Why More Schools Are Choosing In-Person Schooling

Schools that have chosen to reopen their doors for children had to consider multiple factors while dealing with the pandemic. One of the main reasons for reopening during this time is related to how a community handles the pandemic, as each community leader has to make sure that their areas have wide control over the spread of COVID-19. In safe enough environments, schools can reopen as long as they follow strict guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, sanitization methods, massive accommodations for children with disabilities, poverty, medically fragile, and other developmental challenges that require more specific approaches to education.

Schools that choose to reopen have one of the essential reasons behind them – in-person schooling fosters the most growth and development. For children, developing their social and emotional skills along with their academics, and these schools accommodate those needs through the following:

    • Social Distancing

    • Masks

    • Hand Hygiene

    • Temperature Checks

    • Cleaning and Disinfecting

    • Nutrition

How to Protect Children During COVID-19

One of the most proactive methods to protect your child from the virus is to follow the CDC guidelines on social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitization. But more importantly, keeping up with these guidelines while your child is at school remains even more essential. Maintaining a healthy environment at home can help slow the spread, and when your child goes to school each day, remember to follow these steps:

Avoid Touching the Eyes, Nose, and Mouth – By teaching them these habits and reminding them of it at home, any surfaces they touch can be prevented until they wash their hands.

Practice Mask Wearing at Home – Wearing masks at home and teaching them breathing exercises can help calm them and inform them about why wearing masks are necessary during this time. Reinforce mask-wearing before they go to school to help them adjust to this temporary reality.

Keep Them Home If Sick – While school education is important if your child begins to show symptoms of COVID-19, then keeping them at home can help slow the spread. If you have any more concerns about handling your child’s sickness, contact your pediatrician for more advice.

For any concerns you may have about COVID-19 and your children, Dr. Veena Puri at Puri Pediatric Medical Group in Fremont, CA, can provide the insight you need to keep your child safe.

This year, influenza and COVID-19 circulate within the same season, making it just as important to get the flu shot. While getting the flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, it might help reduce you and your child’s risk of developing COVID-19 and help pediatricians and medical staff protect children and their families against the pandemic. These two illnesses present a double threat this year. While both respiratory illnesses, it’s essential that you know the differences between these two illnesses and why it’s safe to get the flu vaccination during the pandemic.

Is it Influenza or COVID-19?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children six months and older should get the flu shot each year; both of these illnesses are present during the winter months and have similar symptoms. Both can cause no symptoms to occur and cause an illness with mild to severe symptoms—however, the time period when these illnesses appear to differ. For influenza, symptoms can show up one to four days after being infected, while COVID-19 can show up between 2 to 14 days after infection, with the most common signs showing up around five days.

Common Symptoms for Both Influenza and COVID-19 include:

    • Fevers/Chills

    • Extreme Tiredness

    • Shortness of Breath

    • Difficulty Breathing

    • Muscle and Body Aches

    • Stuffy, runny noses

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea

    • Headaches

The only symptom present with COVID-19 currently diagnose is a person’s loss of taste and smell and that their stuffy nose and throat feel dry.

How Do Symptoms Appear in Children?

Children will often experience the same symptoms with influenza as adults would, making it all the more important for children to get their flu vaccine, and the best place for getting the influenza vaccine is at your pediatrician’s office. Experts aren’t aware of how the two viruses interact with the body, and the intermixing of these two viruses can present life-threatening complications, posing higher risks to both children and adults.

Know It’s Safe To Get The Vaccine

Getting the influenza vaccine is safe, as long as clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals place safety measures for people wanting the vaccine. Visitor restrictions, symptom screenings, social distancing, and masks are the best measures we have for families. Getting the influenza vaccine is the best way to support our medical professionals out in the field helping those with severe COVID-19 symptoms and can help these professionals recognize COVID-19 from influenza by looking at the person’s medical history and discounting influenza as a cause for their illness.

They need to get the vaccine for children as it helps protect them from potentially compounding influenza with COVID-19. Children with the vaccine can help prevent the hospitals from further overflowing with patients infecting the COVID virus and help doctors care for those suffering from this pandemic. With a high chance of reducing the risk of getting COVID-19, the influenza vaccine gives both medical professionals and families the means to keep people safe during winter.

For more information about the influenza vaccine and what we’re doing to protect patients during COVID-19, contact Puri Pediatric Medical Group, operated by Dr. Veena Puri in Fremont, CA, for a vaccination appointment.

NEW DELHI – The Central Government Nov. 5 issued a set of fresh guidelines for those travelling to India from abroad under which travelers seeking exemption from institutional quarantine will have to submit a negative RT-PCR report conducted within 72 hours of undertaking the journey.

In the new guidelines, the union health ministry stated, “ Travelers may seek exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative RT-PCR test report. This test should have been conducted 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. ”

International passengers arriving without the certificate and wishing to seek exemption from institutional quarantine can now also avail the facility available at the airports. Those coming without the certificate but not opting for the test at the airport, will have to undergo mandatory seven days’ institutional quarantine and seven days’ home quarantine.

“ Only for compelling reasons or cases of human distress such as pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent with children of the age of 10 years or below, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days, ” the guidelines added. For seeking exemption, they would need to apply to the online portal at least 72 hours before boarding.

The passengers who have been exempted from institutional quarantine will show the same to the respective state counters on their cell phones or via other mode before being allowed to quarantine at home for 14 days.

The standard operating procedure added, “ The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective State, UT Governments to undergo mandatory seven days institutional quarantine and seven days home quarantine. ”

The passengers arriving through seaports or land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently, the guidelines further stated.

“ Such passengers shall submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of Government of India at seaports, land ports on arrival. If found negative, they shall be advised to self-monitor their health for additional 7 days, ” it said.

IANS. “Indian Govt. Issues Fresh Guidelines for Those Travelling to India From Abroad.” IndiaWest, 5 Nov. 2020,