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Dallas County reports 29 children hospitalized for COVID-19; CDC releases new info on opening schools

Over 1,450 children under 18 years old have been diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19 during the first three weeks of July, Dallas County officials announced Friday.

DALLAS — Dallas County officials announced Friday that 29 children have been hospitalized for COVID-19 during the first three weeks of July.

Over 1,450 children under 18 years old have been diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19 during that same time frame, officials announced.

A 5-year-old boy is the youngest to die in Dallas County in the COVID-19 pandemic. He had been critically ill in a hospital and had underlying health risk conditions, officials said Friday.

RELATED: COVID-19 updates: 5-year-old boy among latest victims to die in Dallas County

These updates come as the start of school is just weeks away. 

On Thursday, the CDC released new information and an update titled, “Preparing a Safe Return to School,” writing, “The guidance described in this document is based on the best available evidence at this time. This guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools must comply.”

Below are notable details under the CDC’s discussion titled, “What is known about how schools have reopened and the impact on SARS-CoV-2 transmission:”

  • “In summer 2020, Texas reported more than 1,300 COVID-19 cases in childcare centers; however, twice as many staff members had been diagnosed as children, suggesting that children may be at lower risk of getting COVID-19 than adults.”
  • “It is important to consider community transmission risk as schools reopen. Evidence from schools internationally suggests that school re-openings are safe in communities with low SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates. Computer simulations from Europe have suggested that school re-openings may further increase transmission risk in communities where transmission is already high.”

As part of the update, the CDC has a section titled, “Why is it Important to Open Schools for In-Person Instruction?” According to the CDC,

  • “Schools play a critical role in the well-being of communities.”
  • “Schools provide critical instruction and academic support that benefit students and communities in both the short- and long-term.”
  • In-person instruction may be particularly beneficial for students with additional learning needs. Children with disabilities may not have access through virtual means to the specialized instruction, related services or additional supports required by their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or 504 Plans.”
  • When schools are closed to in-person instruction, disparities in educational outcomes could become wider, as some families may not have capacity to fully participate in distance learning.”

If you’d like to read the CDC’s update in full, click here.

As parents try to juggle the ever-changing information about school, Dr. Brad Schwall, president and CEO of the Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology, said they’ve seen an uptick in calls.

“We are getting calls regularly from parents wondering, ‘What is the best setting for my child? Is in-person the best? Do they need to stay home and do all online?’ They’re also asking about these homeschool co-ops and what is best,” Schwall said. “Parents are asking us, ‘How do I talk to my kids about this? How do I deal with their disappointment that no matter what the school year looks like, it’s going to be so different?’”

When it comes to navigating at-home learning and managing screen time, Schwall’s advice for parents is to create a schedule and stick to it.

“Therapists are telling parents, especially parents of children who have difficulty with change, try your best to let them know what’s coming,” Schwall said. “Try to control as much as we can, but then validate the disappointment about what we can’t.”

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