Kids could still transmit COVID-19, should stay home while school is out, experts say

Although elderly people and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to fall severely ill from COVID-19, children can still catch the virus and transmit it.

For that reason, parents like Art Shaw are limiting their kids interactions with other children.

“We primarily try to keep everything in house and focus on everybody having fun without necessarily involving other people,” he told Fox 35 News.

Dr. Emily Gurley, Associate Scientist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public health says that is the right approach if you cannot commit to keeping your kids at home 24 hours a day.  

“Schools are closed, again, not because kids are becoming severely ill, but because kids, we think, are important for transmission,” she said.

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During a video interview, Dr. Gurley urged the public to take CDC guidelines seriously. Families should limit their children’s interactions altogether. However, if they do want to leave the house, going on walks and playing in an open nature area is okay. Playgrounds should be avoided.

“What you want to do is keep kids out of physical contact with each other as much as possible. But you also want to keep them out of contact with high touch surfaces. So a playground, people touch a lot of surfaces. We know that this virus can live on surfaces sometimes for days," she said.

Parents who still want their kids to have play dates should arrange them with a small group of families who are also following guidelines, and who communicate frequently.

"Identify a small group of families with just a few kids that are nearby you. And make sure your interactions are as localized as possible, so parents that you know and that you trust,” said Dr. Gurley.

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She said this method does not work well if children your child is having play dates with is also socializing physically with other kids beyond your established circle.

“It’s not just whether or not they’re sick that puts you at risk. It’s whether they’re in contact with other people who are sick," Dr. Gurley said.


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