2/5/2021: The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics celebrates Governor Northam’s announcement and recognition of the critical need that schools return to in-person learning by March 15th. We also thank Senator Dunnavant for passionately advocating legislatively for school reopening through the passage of her bill in the Senate this week.
Schools are not only a place of learning. Families rely on schools to provide childcare; reliable nutrition; a safe space for children to socialize; and access to school-based mental, emotional, and physical health services. Schools also continue to play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity.
In December, when the VA-AAP surveyed 203 pediatric providers in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we found alarming evidence of a decline in the mental, behavioral, academic, and general well being of the children we care for in our state. Returning to in person learning, with well thought out mitigation strategies, is the right prescription for our children as they continue to struggle from the consequences of the pandemic.