As many children prepare to head back into the classroom, one of the biggest concerns is, will this fuel the spread of coronavirus?
"We haven't seen evidence that kids are super spreaders," said Dr. James McDonald, chief medical officer at the Rhode Island Department of Health. "I'm not convinced the virus dead ends either, so it's still an open question in my mind. Keep in mind this is still a new disease."
Mask wearing, social distancing, and access to hand sanitizers will be crucial in each classroom and throughout school, said McDonald.
"We've got really good evidence now from our own state, from the daycares that were open all summer that we had no super spreader events," said. Dr. Megan Ranney, a frequent contributor on network TV and an emergency room doctor at Lifespan. She said her two school-age kids will be going back to the classroom.
"The current evidence about kids catching a spreading COVID keeps changing but what we currently know is that kids certainly can catch COVID; a lot of them are asymptomatic. They can spread it, it seems like as they get older, so as they reach middle school, high school and of course college-age, they become more likely to spread it," said Ranney.
One of the keys?
"We have to keep people in small groups, keep them in stable groups," said McDonald.
And make sure they follow the rules: "My little guy, who is almost nine years old, said to me the other day, 'Mom, I don't want to go back to school if I have to wear a mask all day.' And my response was, 'It's just not a choice'."
The federal government is conducting a study looking at 2,000 families to come up with a more definitive look at kids as possible super spreaders. Results from that study not out until December.
In the meantime, McDonald said health officials will be closely monitoring our schools this fall for virus with the ability to take swift action.