UF Health experts to host back-to-school town hall

Parents and guardians who have questions about how to protect students from COVID-19 as they return to school can ask local medical experts for advice on Monday.

Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi of UF Health Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of UF Health Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Epidemiology will host a virtual town hall via Zoom starting at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi

Some of the topics they will discuss include the delta variant, healthy behaviors—such as mask wearing and personal hygiene—the safety of extracurricular activities, and when children younger than 12 may be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines.

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The town hall will follow up on a Q and A UF Health released on Friday. In it Rasmussen said the risk has increased since the last school year. 

“It appears the delta variant is more than twice as infectious as the original virus,” she said. 

Rasmussen also addressed the rationale for masks. 

“While the COVID-19 vaccine does a great job at preventing illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, it may not prevent children from getting infected with the virus,” Rasmussen said. “If kids get infected, they can spread the virus to others. Children can spread the virus to their classmates or to their younger brothers or sisters, who might not be able to get the vaccine yet.”

Rasmussen also discussed the long-term effects of COVID-19 in kids: “We know that, as with adults, some kids get ‘long COVID.’ These effects occur after a child gets COVID-19. These problems, including fatigue, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, problems with breathing and heart palpitations, can last for months after the initial infection with COVID-19.”

To ask additional questions not already answered by the UF Health experts in the Q and A, attendees can submit questions during the live Zoom webinar or ahead of time by registering online.

For those who cannot make the Monday town hall, UF Health will post a recording of the event afterward. UF Health requested registration either way. 

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