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Dr. Doran Discussing COVID-19 and Children's Safety on WBAL News Radio

July 30, 2020
Last spring, children around the world abruptly switched from in-person learning at school to remote learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the beginning of the school year approaches in Maryland, parents are wondering whether it’s safe to return to the classroom this fall. Timothy Doran, MD, Chair of Pediatrics at GBMC, talked with WBAL News Radio about what parents need to know about this complex topic.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocates for the goal of safely returning to in-person learning,” Dr. Doran said. “It’s especially important for children who have learning disabilities or come from families in underserved communities. But for this to happen, as a nation we need to manage the epidemic much better than we have so far. We need a unified federal, state, and local approach to controlling the virus.”

Dr. Doran explained that virtual learning does not effectively replace in-person learning, especially for younger students and that parents can expect a learning gap that will require both parents and teachers to be flexible in their approach to learning, adapting, and adjusting the curriculum to help students close that gap.

“Students in K through 5 can most likely get back to school sooner than older students,” he said. “As parents, we need to emphasize the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing to give our children tools to help contain the spread of the virus and we need to model those behaviors ourselves. There will be cases of COVID-19 as students and teachers return to school, but we need to weigh that against the damage of keeping children home, whether that’s a learning gap, food insecurity, or the risk of physical abuse.”
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