HARRISONBURG, Virginia (WHSV) – Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that Virginia school districts must have plans for face-to-face learning options by March 15.
The Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement, consistent with the governor, that requires children to be back in school.
In December, the Chapter conducted a study that asked 203 pediatricians across Virginia to determine what they were seeing of their patients during the pandemic.
“Pediatricians found several problems arose. Lots of mental health problems, academic problems and the like, ”said Percita Ellis.
Ellis is a pediatrician in Rockbridge, Virginia, a member of the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a member of the Virginia School Reopening Task Force.
The study found that 98% of these doctors reported increases in anxiety in children and adolescents and 95% reported increases in depression.
Ellis said she saw these issues with her own eyes and the results of the study led them to be in line with Northam’s reopening plan.
“By mid-March we really want to see the entire system, as much as possible, the school systems. Be ready to really address the needs of children who really need the structure, peer interaction, organization and therapy, ”Ellis said.
Ellis said the task force worked with Northam and the Virginia Department of Health to find a safe route to return to the school requirement for every student.
Ellis said the task force understands that some families may not want to go back to face-to-face learning right now and are working to meet every family where they are.
She adds that safety guidelines and mitigation strategies are important for school reopening.
For more information on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Virginia Chapter study, click here.
Copyright 2021 WHSV. All rights reserved.