First, thanks to the AAP for all the advocacy and hard work to get the Medicaid Relief for Pediatricians!
Rightly so, the AAP has highlighted how social determinants of health including poverty and gaps in education negatively affect children both acutely and in the long term. As children are generally tolerating COVID19 well globally, the more concerning health care crisis in pediatrics will be the long term effects socially on their lives. As pediatricians, we need to be strongly advocating for children of all ages to return to school this fall. The gaps in learning, lack of food availability, and potential for domestic violence will increase substantially if our kids are out of school for any length of time this year. If not in school, kids will either be at daycare or on the streets, either way, not socially distancing. In some districts, 30% of families were lost to follow up in IL during the stay-at-home this spring. In our practice we have had far too many parents that are unable or unwilling to bother with online learning resulting in no education for their children during the last quarter of school. Although it was necessary this spring, this is not sustainable. I unfortunately received word that our IL AAP state chapter will not be drafting a recommendation like many other states to encourage our Governor to allow schools to open in the fall. I know that could change in the next few months, but we must not be passive while we wait. Can all IL physicians on this server reach out to the IL AAP chapter to express their concern for the disastrous health concerns that kids will suffer if they remain out of school. Going back in the winter will be riskier than returning in August, and the data on kids not being the index cases for their homes has been consistent globally.
For those of you involved more intimately with AAP executive actions, can you please pass along our desire for the AAP to reach out to state chapters with recommendations and advice about the risks of not returning and the relative safety of kids being back in school. There are several international studies to support the reopening of schools that document the lack of spread and minimal disease we are seeing in the pediatric population.
Sorry for the long post. I feel strongly about this and want to reach out to those I know can help advocate for our kids. This is one of the best ways I could think to do that.