The Florida Department of Health has announced the addition of a biweekly call for local school health coordinators, staff and interested parties. The State Surgeon General, Dr. Scott A. Rivkees, and members of the School Health and Epidemiology teams will provide updates from the Department of Health on the school based COVID-19 response efforts and address questions submitted from local school health staff. Participants are asked to email questions in advance to [email protected] no later than close of business on the Thursday (for Monday’s call) and Monday (for Wednesday’s call) preceding the call. All participants will be muted during these calls to help streamline information delivery. If you are interested in joining this biweekly telephone conference call, please see the call-in information below:
Date: Mondays & Wednesdays
Time: 5:30 pm
Call-In Number: 888-585-9008 Conference Room ID: 208-305-233 Submit Questions in Advance here.
For A summary of results from the Duke study on most effective and ineffective masks, Click Here.
Return to school app options
Recently published articles related to children and face masks
FCAAP Releases White Paper on Re-Opening School in Florida
As Florida’s schools prepare to re-open this Fall, superintendents are weighing options for doing so safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the Chapter released “FCAAP Recommendations Regarding School Reopening”, a white paper to assist Florida’s school superintendents as they prepare their school districts to reopen. This guidance is pursuant to FCAAP’s recent letter to Governor DeSantis, outlining its position that schools should be allowed to decide how and when to open on a case-by-case basis based on COVID-19 infection rates in each school district.
COVID-19 positivity rates are currently extremely high in Florida with a rolling average of 12% of tests positive for new infections over the past two weeks. FCAAP recommends that school districts in locales with positive test rates averaging ≥5% over the previous two weeks delay the start date for school until positive testing rates are lower.
“Because infection rates vary so widely statewide, there is no universal plan that allows all of Florida’s school to re-open safely at the same time, and districts should tailor their plans accordingly. Ideally, each plan should be developed by each local school district in consultation with local pediatricians, family physicians, epidemiologists, and infectious disease specialists,” said Dr. D. Paul Robinson, FCAAP President.
In the white paper, FCAAP has highlighted key areas for consideration and offers guiding principles regarding screening for symptoms, social distancing in classrooms, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation procedures, considerations for vulnerable demographics, role of school nurses, school sports, and returning to school after a potential COVID-19 exposure.
Recent studies referenced in the white paper show children do not become as ill as older age groups with COVID-19, and they do not spread the disease as efficiently as adults do. The data are relatively limited to make definite conclusions about these contentions. However, if children, as a group, do not become as ill as adults, it does not mean every child with COVID-19 does not become ill, and that they will not infect those entrusted to care for and educate them.
“FCAAP believes it is important for children to return to school to reap the benefits of face-to-face education and the provision of other school services, but the benefits must outweigh the medical risks to the children, teachers, school staff, and families. In many areas of the state, coronavirus prevalence will not decrease enough in the next 4-6 weeks to make the benefits of school attendance outweigh the risks,” Robinson concluded.
FCAAP remains available to give guidance to superintendents if they are interested. Click Here for the White Paper
Latest Children and COVID-19 Data Report
The AAP has released its latest Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report containing national and state specific date, and a new Executive Summary as of August 20. Click Here for the report.
Keeping Children Healthy
Many families are wondering whether their child should go to school in-person or learn from home online. The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Family Network on Disabilities has created a Back to School Checklist (available in English and Spanish) designed to help families and clinicians decide about whether a child should go back to school in person, especially if the child has health issues. We hope you and your patients find it useful in making the best decision for their families.
Regardless of whether parents plan to send kids back to in-person classes this fall or not, there are steps your patients can take now to keep their children healthy, including scheduling well visits and routine immunizations. FCAAP has created the parent handout “Keeping Children Healthy” Click Here. Additional resources including template patient letters and social media messages in English, Spanish, and Creole can be found in FCAAP’s Back to the Office Toolkit.
On site testing option shared by Desiree from the Autism Housing Network/Madison House
We hope you and those you serve have been well during this pandemic. The AHN and CCC are both projects of the Madison House Autism Foundation. Our co-founder, Dr. Gregory Prince, is a virologist and his lab, Soft Cell Laboratories, is providing saliva testing for identification of COVID-19. We have informed the lab of the struggle that many service providers in our network are facing in terms of accessing COVID-19 tests, the difficulty of blood draw or nasal swab and turnaround time of results. They are willing to work directly with providers to get these saliva tests directly into your hands. Here are a few Q&A’s we know you will have:
- What is the process to do a saliva test? Saliva kits are sent directly to your organization. A healthcare provider with a NPI number on your staff, a healthcare provider of your client, or other community provider with an NPI number administers the saliva test. The healthcare provider completes the test and your organization mails it back to the lab.
- What is the turnaround time? Test kits can be sent out the same day as you contact Soft Cell Labs. Within 48 hours of receiving the sample, the lab gives the healthcare provider results.
- What does the saliva test cost? Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance companies are required to cover the cost of at least one COVID-19 test, repeat orders have yet to be rejected. The cost of shipping the sample to the lab is not included. The lab bills insurance for the test directly.
- How accurate is the saliva test? In clinical trials, the test is more accurate than the nasal swab.
- Who can answer our questions and/or how can our organization get started to order tests for our staff and clients? After reviewing the PowerPoint, If you have questions about the test, contact Frank Spangler at [email protected]. If you would like to get started, contact Leighton Ispon at [email protected].
We hope this connection provides options to decrease exposure, provide a less invasive test and stay safe during these challenging times.