Doctor Geisinger: The school year will likely be full of unexpected changes | Snyder County

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Parents and students must prepare for unexpected changes this school year as classes resume during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr Allison Schuessler, pediatrician at Geisinger.

“It is important that schools are nimble and flexible,” said Schuessler. “The safety of our children returning to school will depend on the burden of disease in the community. It will depend on the school district we are talking about. Whether the school in that area has a low rate of positive tests and a small amount of given the size of the population, then it will be a little safer and easier to do more teaching in person. ”

Local schools have started to open and will continue to do so over the next week.



Communities most affected by the disease should consider distance learning, she said.

“It’s important to be aware of this. That can change, ”she said. “Parents should be able to make the decision that is right for their family. “

Schuessler said parents, students and staff should follow guidelines recommended by the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means washing your hands before and after eating and using the toilet; social distancing; and wearing masks if the child is old enough.

“A lot of it will start at home,” said Schuessler. “Parents can show good behavior with their children and explain why it is important to protect our friends, our community and our families.”

Young children may not understand, but the more parents discuss it with them or model the behavior, the more attentive children will be, she said.

Parents should watch their child’s symptoms and they should stay home if they do. Discuss treatment with a pediatrician, Schuessler said.

Children and teens can also experience stress and anxiety. Schuessler said parents should watch for changes in behavior or loss of appetite.

Children should feel safe and loved, know they have the ability to talk about what they are going through, and parents should contact pediatricians if their child has mental health issues, she said.

In terms of maintaining a healthy child in general, Schuessler said children should continue to get exercise, activity, and a healthy diet.

Allison Hess, vice president of health and wellness at Geisinger, said the hospital system has been working with school districts in recent months to collaborate on reopening plans and offer support to try to understand the everyone’s needs. A variety of resources are available, including a digital toolkit, reopening guidelines, and clinical expertise.

“Historically, Geisinger has always been heavily invested in community, whether through health and wellness and community organizing,” Hess said. “Especially during a pandemic, it is essential that we do our part to stop the spread and to educate and support our community partners, including schools. It is truly in the best interests of all of us.”

Hess reiterated Schuessler’s statement that schools need to be flexible. Experts are still learning about COVID-19 and new guidelines and developments are occurring every week, she said.

“It’s not just the responsibility of the school, it’s the responsibility of the whole community,” Hess said. “Schools take this seriously. They focus on student health and safety, but they are just one piece. It is important for students after the school day to pursue best practices.

Hess said she was impressed by the efforts of school districts to seek professional advice.

Milton Area Superintendent Cathy Keegan praised Geisinger and the Evangelical Community Hospital.

“A cry goes out to Geisinger and Evangelical Medical Centers for their commitment and support to our local school districts,” Keegan said. “We cannot thank these organizations enough for all they have done during our health and safety planning processes. Allison Hess, vice president of health innovations at Geisinger Medical Center deserves recognition for her continued support and commitment to the well-being of the school in the Milton School District. community.”

Geisinger has shown a strong commitment to the Milton Area School District, she said.

“Through our combined efforts, we are committed to keeping our community healthy, strong and prosperous,” she said. “The goal of the work is not only to prevent the spread of COVID 19, but also to educate 2,000 students on the best way to mitigate and respond to the pandemic when they are not in school. Educating to mitigate is key. “

Other district superintendents said they were grateful to have two quality health care networks in the valley.

“We have been fortunate to have high quality health organizations in our area that have provided guidance to our local schools,” said Shamokin area superintendent Chris Venna. “We certainly hope to continue to receive more information as it becomes available. However, we understand the circumstances and that sometimes the information is not readily available.”

Line Mountain Superintendent Dave Campbell said everyone is trying to protect children.

“The area administrators we have worked with feel privileged to have high quality health organizations in our area that have provided guidance to our local schools,” said Campbell.

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