While the group maintains its focus to support healthcare professionals, its latest effort wants to prepare schools for reopening this fall. The Kansas COVID Workgroup for Kids began meeting last month, but the focus on the fall semester for schools is recent.
It’s leading to a collaboration with state education leaders and school administrators to determine how school buildings can safely reopen in August.
“We wanted to make sure we had a really strong group of advocates in our community,” said KU School of Medicine Associate Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Stephanie Kuhlmann.
Dr. Kuhlmann said COVID-19 has sent few children to the hospital, but there are other virus-related ramifications for them.
“You really have to look at the psychological and social impacts,” Dr. Kuhlmann said. “Certainly there’s been instances where there may be more children home alone if their parents are working.”
Dr. Kuhlmann joined with other pediatricians, family care physicians, children psychologists and a school nurse director to form the Kansas COVID Workgroup
It started with the goal of supporting others in their fields with resource and recommendations to help children through the pandemic. It’s grown from there.
“One of the areas we could be of value would be helping with back-to-school or school-reopening recommendations,” Dr. Kuhlmann said.
The group currently is working to finalize a list of recommendations and collaborate with state and local education leaders to determine the best path forward.
“We’re not educators. We’re not school administrators, but we do feel like it’s important to help school administrators understand the literature and information about the infection and children,” Dr. Kuhlmann said.
Dr. Kuhlmann said the workgroup sent out a letter to school administrators about its efforts and willingness to assist with planning for reopening. The group is in the processes of meeting with some of these school leaders.