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School-going kids: Normal cold vs COVID?

Dear parents, with kids now going back to school, have you noticed that they are having more coughs and colds, compared to when they were at home during MCO?


You might well be wondering if your child has COVID symptoms (!!) and whether it is worth it to send them back to school.


I have been sending my kids to kindie since the gov announced it a while back. Reading through the research, I know that the benefits of sending them back to school outweigh the risks, provided that the schools follow SOPs.


Studies have shown that children who get COVID are: 1. Less likely to develop severe symptoms 2. Less likely to spread to others 3. Less likely to get it from school


With the above in mind, it is a relief to know that sending them back to school have more benefits than risks. This is especially so if both parents are working, and there is no one to care for the kids at home. There are many more benefits in going back to school than just academics. Firstly, the social aspect of interacting with others and giving children a sense of community in school are important for their development. Secondly, being in school automatically makes them more physical, which enhances their motor skills. (So I don’t have to run around after them haha!)


All in all, going back to school seems like the right thing to do, PROVIDED that the schools follow the SOPs: 1. Maintain social distancing 2. Enforce mask wearing in children older than 2yo, or face shields for those younger ones 3. Strict hand washing 4. Temperature checks and illness screening at the drop off


**Often, parents ask me: Dr KoNi, my child is coughing/having a cold, how do I know if my child got COVID from school?**

My answer: 1. Children are less likely to get COVID from school; they get it from CLOSE CONTACTS. So what are CLOSE CONTACTS…? 2. CLOSE CONTACTS are those that stay in the same house with someone with COVID19, spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face (maskless) contact within 2 metres of someone who has COVID-19, or healthcare worker who provides care to COVID19 patients. 3. As long as your child has no history of close contact with COVID19 cases, then it is quite unlikely that they have COVID19.


I do hope the above helps you make your choice of whether or not to send the kids back to school.

Children are quite remarkable aren’t they? In that they seem small, but are so resilient! With good health, children can shine as brightly as the stars, I always say.


Stay safe everyone, and take care!



My two boys, in a rare moment of sitting down nicely during online class

-Dr Wai Ko Ni

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