Pediatricians Push Back Against School Reopening Guidelines

A battle of the experts is emerging in Sacramento, with a prominent group of pediatricians complaining it has been left out of discussions on school reopening plans.

The American Academy of Pediatrics California, which represents more than 5,000 physicians, released a set of its own recommendations Thursday that calls for returning children to schools without delay.

“It’s a brand new virus so we don't know much about it. But there's a lot of evidence that at least in children, it's mild at best, and transmission may or may not even occur,” said Dr. Alice Kuo, president of AAP's Southern California chapter (Politico). “We could wait another year or two to figure it out, meanwhile hundreds of thousands of kids are not being educated. It’s a trade off. And that’s a consideration that is missing from these conversations.” 

Her group has also criticized recommendations for LAUSD schools, such as one-entrance/exit hallways, daily temperature scans, and face masks, which it says may not be developmentally appropriate.

But the AAP’s mission is primarily to advocate on behalf of children. Bodily risk to teachers and staff, parents, and grandparents is a separate question — as is potential liability for school districts.

There is no easy answer. And, in a war between the experts, it’s not clear who wins.