Duke pediatrician, mom asks state to follow science to get kids back into classrooms amid COVID-19

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Duke pediatrician urges state to follow COVID-19 data for school plan
Duke pediatrician urges state to follow COVID-19 data for school plan

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Experts say it's important to follow the science and data in order to figure out the safest way to get kids back into the classroom.

On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper plans to decide what the best way forward is for K-12 students statewide.


"I think a big component of the decision is to look at the rates of community spread and rates of cases in each locality because we know it's variable across the country and across the state," said Dr. Charlene Wong, assistant professor pediatrics at Duke University's School of Medicine and a primary care pediatrician.

She said how difficult a decision it will be for state officials.

RELATED: North Carolina parents anxiously await Gov. Cooper's school reopen recommendations this week

The Wake County School System has for now given parents the option of enrolling in a Virtual Academy or a mix of in person and distance programs.

"There's going to be a lot of unpredictable closures or needs for your kids to stay at home: say there's a child with COVID-19 that's been diagnosed," said Dr. Wong.

She also said it's hard to make a broad stroke decision for something like virtual learning because students in kindergarten learn differently from high school students.

"Everyone is trying their best," Dr. Wong said. "A lot of us in the medical community and in the public health community have been consulted because no one knows what the right answer is."

She feels it's important to get elementary school students into the classroom as much as possible when school opens. She also said how important classrooms are for kids who don't have a safe place to go during the day.

RELATED: Wake County Public three-week rotation reopening plan spells trouble for some parents

In addition, employers should be understanding of the needs of parents.

Gov. Cooper will give an update Tuesday at 3 p.m. on the plans for K-12 schools. You can watch live on-air or online.