FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – As schools in Broward and Miami-Dade counties prepare to reopen through online learning this month, medical experts at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital offered some words of advice to parents about the challenges that lie ahead.
Dr. Ximena Flanders, a pediatric psychologist, advised parents to be patient.
“We’re all sort of learning together about what different is going to look like, and I think anytime when we’re in a situation where there’s new or novel situations, we all get a little anxious and nervous,” she said.
To help students manage their stress, especially with schools starting online only, parents are advised to create a routine and give their children some structure.
Flanders said parents should ensure their children wake up at the same time every day and make sure they get dressed.
“Make sure that they’re eating OK, healthy. We kind of get out of routine, and they’re eating snacks during the day, so make sure you break out breakfast, lunch and dinner with appropriate snacks,” she said. “Exercise is so important. Make it a family affair.”
Pediatricians said these measures will help with mental health. They also described what parents can do to keep their children physically healthy.
“During a pandemic, what we’re trying to avoid is an outbreak of a different disease such as varisela or measles,” said Carolina Kaack, a nurse practitioner who runs the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Mobile Health Center. “Definitely more than ever, we have to vaccinate and make sure that our community is protected, even when we’re not going to school.”
The advice comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that COVID-19 positivity rates in South Florida have gone down.
“We have point-of-care testing at one of our main test sites in Miami-Dade, and that is showing 10, 11% positive for symptomatic test takers,” he said. “I think Broward has been single digits for the last five days.”
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the drop in numbers is good, but more needs to be done before schools can physically reopen.
“We need the county to expedite test results. If we have to wait more than 48 hours, then contact tracing renders itself useless,” he said.
Online classes are scheduled to resume Aug. 19 in Broward and Aug. 31 in Miami-Dade.
“On August 24th, we will start our orientation and training process for teachers, parents and students,” said Carvalho. “We will distribute an additional 25,000 laptop computers on top of the 120,000 we’ve already distributed, hotspots for everybody to guarantee connectivity on day one.”
Parents who have to work and are unable to supervise their children can drop them off at Boys and Girls Club locations in Miami-Dade and Broward, and the students can do their e-learning there.
Parents in Broward County with questions about the upcoming school year can log on to Parents University Aug. 12-17. For more information, click here.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools has published a guide to the reopening of schools. To access that document, click here.
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