December 22, 2022 by
Lucy Gardner Carson
Critical care physician Rebecca Bell, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics
(DECEMBER 22, 2022) Critical care physician Rebecca Bell, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, spoke to the Burlington Free Press for an article on Vermont truancy policies in the face of COVID and other sick-day absences.
COVID-19 mitigation strategies over the past couple of years have suppressed seasonal viral infections, which has led to waning immunity, Bell explained. This has increased the pool of youth susceptible to getting sick—and getting sick multiple times.
“Clinically, we are not seeing more severe disease than we would see pre-pandemic, but we are seeing a higher number of children getting sick,” she said. “This can lead to a strain on the health care system and disruption to school and child care.”
Bell said COVID-19 created more awareness about the spread of infectious disease and kids may be kept home more now as a precautionary measure to protect against RSV, the flu, the common cold, and COVID-19—all of which have been sweeping through Vermont schools. “This does lead to missed school, especially because children are getting back-to-back illnesses with all the different respiratory viruses currently circulating.”
Should parents be concerned that keeping their kids home sick would lead to a hearing in family court? The short answer is no—however, it is helpful for families to report to the school the reason for the student’s absence when it occurs.
To prevent excessive absences due to illness, Bell suggests getting the flu shot and COVID-19 bivalent booster—which many still haven’t gotten but could limit susceptibility to those infections.
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at Burlington Free Press