Coronavirus: Parents express mixed feelings about students returning to school

The CDC is revising its guidance on school re-opening after President Trump tweeted his disagreement with their current stance
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When President Trump pushed for schools to re-open this fall, he pointed to a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that championed in-person learning. Many parents aren't happy about their children staying home, but some expressed ambivalence about returning.

"I'm really torn about it," said Glendale father Michael Hermogeno. As a dad, he wants his daughters to return to the classroom.

"There's a certain level of discipline that they experience at schools that we can't provide at home," he said.

But as a kidney transplant recipient, a COVID-19 infection could be devastating for him.

"I almost want to say that I'm willing to risk my safety to make sure they get the proper education because that's their future," Hermogeno said.

The CDC is revising its guidance on school re-opening after President Trump tweeted his disagreement with their current stance. The move is in step with what the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending.

"Children do not do as well with exclusive online learning. They need the social interactions," said Dr. Michael Neely, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

"They need the physical presence of the teacher and other students near them to facilitate learning."

Dr. Neely said the benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks of infection.

"One thing that we've learned is that children seem to be less likely to either get infected or to get symptoms or even to transmit the virus," he said.

Dr. Neely added the negative effects on mental health and the deficits to learning are a bigger concern for students than the virus. The AAP has also offered a long list of age specific safety protocols.

Still, Hermogeno's daughter Mara, who attends a Los Angeles County school for the art is torn.
"It worries me that I could possibly spread it to my dad and to my grandparents and that kind of worries me, but I also really want to go to school," she said.

Dr. Neely said the ultimate decision rests with the parents.

"If a family or a parent has circumstances in their household that make it a higher risk, they're going to have to make that individual decision," he said.

Despite his health concerns, Hermogeno said he wants to do what's best for his daughters.

"I will trust school boards to make the right decisions as to how we should go about it," he said, "And hope for the best."

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