INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now urging vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas of the country where COVID-19 transmission is high or substantial to resume wearing masks indoors in public areas.
The agency is also recommending everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
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This includes teachers, staff, students and visitors. It’s due to the rise in coronavirus cases and the delta variant, which is now the dominant strain in the country, carries 1,000 times more viral load and is 225% more transmissible.
The coronavirus is still circulating, and doctors are predicting another surge, yet school is in session and there are tough decisions to be made. Parents, teachers, staff and children all want children to have a great school year, especially given the challenging, unpredictable events of last year. One Indiana school counselor wants parents to know it is within their power to make sure their kids are learning, having fun and staying protected amid the chaos.
It starts with creating what’s called an Individualized Health Plan. The plan requires a team of players including parents, doctors, school nurses and other support staff. Together the team develops actionable steps specific to a child’s health needs to be stored in the school’s files. This could be anything related to COVID-19 or other pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or a clotting condition.
“For a family, it starts with notifying the school and parents asking physicians if they can put in writing information that’s needed to be shared with schools in terms of how to keep the child safe,” said Brenda McLean, Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center’s school counselor. “What do they need? What’s going to promote attendance? Then parents contact the school to set up a meeting to talk about a health plan based on the information from the child’s provider.”
The conversation, McLean says, should include discussion about what the possible scenarios might be and how to create as much inclusion and engagement as possible. From there, the school develops the Individualized Health Plan.
She also says schools are happy to support and do what’s best for every child in the district. But parents and caretakers need to know these health plans exist, understand the importance of them and encouragement to follow through with the process. Families should also know, she adds, they are not alone and can help each other out.
For instructions on how to create an Individualized Health Plan for your child, click here.
For sample forms to bring to your child’s provider in order to get started, click here.