As schools around the country open, there are concerns over the delta variant, and possibly other strains of the coronavirus that haven’t yet landed in America, and the impact on another school year. Nationwide, children now account for an estimated 15% of all newly reported COVID-19 cases.
“At this point in time, the one blessing in all this is that while kids are getting sick, they are not getting seriously ill,” said Lindsay Neptune, a pediatric nurse practitioner and Director of Clinical Services at Open Door’s school-based health centers, which have seven locations at schools in Ossining and Port Chester. “Still, we need to do whatever we can to protect the kids and give them the best chance to have a normal quality of life. We have seen a rise in anxiety and depression because they haven’t been living a normal life. We need to get ahead of this.
She said that templates are in place at Open Door’s school-based health centers to reach out to parents once a vaccine for younger children – under 12 – is approved. She believes that due to the new strain, which preys primarily on the unvaccinated of any age, this will happen soon.
“Parents are anxious because in many cases they have older children who have been vaccinated and younger ones who haven’t,” said Neptune. “They want to make sure their kids can go to school and can do extracurricular activities. Many parents have returned to work and can’t be home with their children. Our job is to work with the school districts to give them as normal a year as humanly possible.”
Open Door makes it easy for children to get vaccinated at their school-based health centers. Vaccines are free and easily accessible. The only requirement is the signing of parental consent forms.
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