"It's in everybody's best interest for kids to be able to go school, somehow," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Nielsen cited a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that indicates children have fallen behind academically since the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close. With the coronavirus spreading in some areas, returning to the classroom will be complicated.
Nielsen, a former President of the American Medical Society, has been offering perspective and expertise to WBFO listeners throughout the pandemic.
When it comes to reopening schools, there are no simple pathways.
"What we know is that social distance matters. What we know is congregation of a large number of people matters. We also know that, by and large, kids are not as susceptible to the illness, even though as we talked about before there is this very unusual and rare situation in where they have a hyper-immune response, but by and large they're going to do okay.," Nielsen said.
"It's when they go home and who they contact afterwards that's a problem."
Nielsen understands local members of school boards and school administrators are struggling with a number of questions regarding keeping students safe.
"How do we bus kids in on different days so we keep the social distance? How do we do that with the personnel we have now? How do we do multiple bus runs? And do kids eat lunch at their desks as opposed to in a cafeteria?" Nielsen said.
"But whether or not schools are going to reopen in New York, frankly, is gong to be up to the governor."