California Pacific Medical Center physician Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider tells ‘Your World‘ that getting school staff vaccinated should be a “top priority” in getting children safely back in the classroom, claiming there is “no question” the benefits of reopening “outweigh the risks” in many instances.
DR.SHOSHANA UNGERLEIDER: There’s no doubt young people across this country are suffering. Their social, their emotional, their mental health have been so impacted by the pandemic. The goal is to have all children back in school in person five days a week. And there are ways to do this safely. There’s no question. In much of the country, the benefits of opening schools outweigh the risks. But this is, of course, impacted by the level of community spread of the virus.
To reopen our schools, we need to keep driving down community transmission, get adults, including teachers and school staff, vaccinated as fast as possible, and with the appropriate mitigation strategies like enforcing masking, hand hygiene, social distancing and better ventilation, we know that we can decrease the risk of viral transmission significantly. And when the time comes, of course, vaccinating children, this all needs to be top priority right now.
If I was the one coming to the table, I’d want to make sure that everyone involved [with reopening schools], the children, the parents, the school staff and the teachers all felt very safe and secure and that there were the resources available to make that so. So I think that the steps that the [Biden] administration is taking to move this forward are appropriate. And again, I think we all want the same thing and we want to do it as safely and quickly as possible.