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COVID-19: Local pediatricians discuss back-to-school safety for children

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SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Carla Ortiz is nervous about her 6-year old son Bryan starting first grade this fall. “I’m just scared for my kids because they’re real little and they don’t understand and it makes me very nervous.”

The mother of two says like any kid, Bryan touches everything. "Wherever I take him, my son touches everything and I get really nervous."

Pediatricians with the Marian Regional Medical Center say Ortiz is not the only parent nervous about their kids returning to school during the pandemic.

"Normally this is an exciting time of the year. But now this coronavirus has brought an added stress to families to parents to children into schools on how to go back to school all over again," said Dr. Ricardo Flores with the Marian Regional Medical Center.

Whether it’s going back to school, walking down the street or just going to the store, Flores says we’re entering a new era. "It’s hand washing, social distancing when you can and wearing a mask that are so important right now."

Flores says if patients follow the proper health orders, their kids likely will too.

He says having conversations with your kids about COVID-19 will also help minimize the spread of the virus. "Do it in a way that’s not going to frighten them because already there are children who are frightened about going back to school. They need to be assured that safe measures are being taken."

Santa Maria Bonita School District is still making its plans for the fall and has not decided whether class will be in person, online or a hybrid of both models.

That decision will be made after administrators get more guidance from the state.

"Speak to your school administrator if you’re worried. I’m sure they have information they’re putting out. Trust them because they’re not taking this lightly. They’re trying to do the best for your children as well," said Flores.

"My hope is for him to be safe and for every kid to be safe too," said Ortiz.

California / Coronavirus / Education / Environment / Safety / Santa Maria - North County / Video

Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martelotti is a reporter at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.