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‘A very personal decision:' Parents make decision on return to school

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GALENA–Parents across the county are preparing to make a difficult decision as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, whether they should send their child back to school or if they should have their child complete remote learning.

Districts across the county are giving the parents the option, but parents are in the process of trying to decide what is best for their child and for their family.

“Being a parent myself, I think it is a very personal decision,” said Dr. Beth Gullone of Midwest Medical Clinic. “You know your kids and you have to decide where they will benefit more.”

Gullone said that the health of the student and those they are in contact with should also be part of the decision-making process for families.

“You also have to consider the health of your kids and the health of other people in your home,” said Gullone. “If you have people at home with health issues, that could be a risk. If you have a grandparent taking care of your kids before or after school, that is another consideration.”

The Centers for Disease Control recently updated their website and has included a tool where parents can weigh the risk and benefits themselves.

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“Someone asked me about how Matt (also a physician at Midwest Medical Clinic) and I don’t bring (coronavirus) home to our kids,” said Gullone. “Part of it is that we wear masks and always wash our hands. Even though our exposure isn’t as great as a clinic in Chicago or Arizona, there is still some risk and exposure.”

Schools across the county will be following rules with wearing masks and take extra precautions when it comes to hand sanitizer and cleaning the schools.

“Even though it will be a bigger group of people and you can’t always control kids’ hygiene habits, they will work hard on keeping the rules,” said Gullone. “(Children) won’t be thrown in the classroom with no protection.”

Another concern for Gullone is the similarity between symptoms of coronavirus and other common illnesses that inflict children during the school year.

“When kids go back to school every year, strep throat or the cold goes around,” said Gullone. “Maybe it will be better because of more hand-washing. The hard part is (parents) are paying extra attention to any sore throat or cough. That will be a lot on our end at the clinic in trying to work through those symptoms and to help diagnose.”

Gullone said parents and caregivers, no matter what option they choose, will have to have a plan in place for what they will do when they are stuck at home or if their child contracts coronavirus.

The decision could be difficult for some, but it is a decision all parents will have to make for the upcoming school year.

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