Jessica Dixon, a nurse and infection prevention specialist at WakeMed, said she did a double-take when she got the email from her daughter’s elementary school about the change. “That was … human resources that were being used that could have been doing other things in the building,” Sutton said. “It certainly kind of takes you aback for just a second, especially because we’re so accustomed now to, everywhere we go, somebody’s putting a thermometer to your forehead and asking you all these questions,” Dixon said.
The state Department of Health and Human Services even changed its guidelines two weeks ago to recommend health screenings only for adults at schools and not for students. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a recent study found symptom screening conducted by health professionals in a hospital setting failed to identify 45 percent of all pediatric patients infected with coronavirus, while 40 percent of those with symptoms didn’t have the virus.
“Our data and our guidance concluded that that’s not effective or not helpful,” Wake County school board Chairman Keith Sutton said Wednesday of the decision to end the daily screenings, which he called “time-consuming” for teachers and school staff. The simple reason: They don’t work for children.
“The screening is still in place. It’s just being done at home now instead of being done on school grounds,” Dixon said. The move comes as the school district is ending its rotation of students between classroom and online instruction, meaning more than 83,000 students will be in person full time at schools by the middle of next week. Sutton said schools are stressing to families to keep students home if anyone in the household is feeling sick, which he said is a good alternative to the screenings. Masks, distancing, hand washing and frequent disinfection will continue to be emphasized in the schools, he said.
“How often over the past … six months of school have students reported to school to participate and been screened and told, ‘No, I’m sorry, you can’t be here. You need to go home?’” she said. “How often have we been sending our kids to school, either symptomatic or with recent exposures, and, you know, not catching that before they get to school, because that is the new process?” But she agrees that the screening probably wasn’t effective at keeping sick children out of school.
The News Highlights
- The CDC says health checkups for children don’t work, so Wake schools do away with them :: WRAL.com
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