With schools back in session, many parents are deciding whether or not it's safe for their children to play school sports. Dr. Manish Bajracharya, Pediatric Critical Care Physician at Orange Park Medical Center shares what parents should be considering before signing their child up for the team this fall.
"The more people a child interacts with, the higher the risk of COVID-19 exposure," says Dr. Bajracharya. Organized sports activities with large teams, close physical interaction, sharing of equipment, and long interactions are at higher risk for exposure. Dr. Bajracharya says there are a number of proactive steps you can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure for your child while playing sports.
- Keep your child home from sports activities if they are sick
- Players should bring their own equipment, if possible
- Respect social distancing as often as possible during both practice and games
- Practice outdoors rather than in enclosed indoor spaces
- Coaches, officials, spectators and players on the sidelines should wear a face covering
- Handwashing before and after practices and games
- Avoid sharing towels, clothing, or any items used to wipe the face or hands
- Avoid unnecessary contact such as high fives, handshakes and hugging
The CDC recommends shifting as many practice drills as possible to at-home activities with family members when possible. Avoiding large gatherings and situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain is always the best defense against the spread of COVID-19 but Dr. Bajracharya recognizes the importance of keeping children active and social to maintain a positive mental health.
"Children are resilient. Even without peer interactions, children can still develop socially with the use of technology to connect with friends and spending time with siblings, parents and pets."