In case you missed it, you can view the recording of our recent online event: Back to School and Germ Prevention in the “New Normal” with Lysol
Below the video is a transcript of the chat during the event with questions from attendees and responses from Dr. Vincent Hill, from the CDC, and Dr. Jen Zubler, pediatrician.
Carla Wiese, MOPTA President : Thank you for joining us! Please ask any questions you may have here. Don’t be shy!
Q: What are your stances on wearing masks and washing hands?
Q: Is using hand sanitizer as effective as washing hands with soap and water?
Dr. Jen Zubler: As a pediatrician I highly recommend wearing masks and washing hands as CDC and the American Academy of pediatrics recommends
Q: I’m curious how the experts feel herd immunity plays a role (or doesn’t) in schools.
Dr. Vincent Hill: Wearing masks, avoiding close contact with people outside your household, washing hands often, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces are the core prevention measures recommended by CDC for protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
Q: also, we’ve had NO cases in our local elementary school this year, but have nearly daily alerts of COVID in middle and high schools. is this common across the country?
Q: With the new rapid COVID test is there a “better” test to use?
Dr. Vincent Hill: Handwashing and using hand sanitizer are both effective ways of keeping hands clean and preventing spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Dr. Vincent Hill: One note regarding hand sanitizer is that it is important to use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Q: Do we know how long the antibodies for Covid remain in our system?
Q: Regarding the rapid test are the results equally as accurate as the non rapid tests?
Q: We have parents concerned that children wearing masks all day they become damp and can cause additional illnesses. Is this something parents should worry about?
Q: We have children at school who have oral sensory needs. They constantly have wet masks from chewing on them, through no fault of their own.
Dr. Jen Zubler: These are all good questions, many of which we do not have answers to yet as this is a new and evolving virus
Q: Do you see the Covid virus being considered in the development of the flu shot this season?
Q: How long does the virus live on surfaces?
Dr. Vincent Hill: You can see CDC guidance on use of face masks in school here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/cloth-face-cover.html
Dr. Jen Zubler : As far as masks go, It is ok if it gets wet from the child’s breath and even chewing. It would be great if they are very wet to change the mask. Cloth masks should be washed each day.
Q: Can you explain how 6ft was established as a safe distance?
Q: Are face shields as effective as masks?
Q : In your opinion are our children any safer from the coronavirus versus the chemicals that school staff are having to use to clean desks before students eat?
Dr. Vincent Hill: There is more that we need to understand about airborne transmission of the virus. The 6-ft distance recommendation is based on current understanding of aerosol droplet transmission during speaking, coughing, etc. Face shields can be effective in blocking aerosols emitted from the mouth. I’m not sure if there is comparison data between masks and face shields as a barrier for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Q: With the high touch of money, what is your recommendation for purchasing items?
Dr. Jen Zubler: When handling items that many others have handled you should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
Q: Do the UV sanitizing light wands work to “kill”COVID? I have seen them advertised and have been tempted to purchase for our phones etc. that you do not really want to use cleaners on.
Dr. Vincent Hill: You can read CDC guidance on surface cleaning and disinfection in schools here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/clean-disinfect-hygiene.html. When appropriate cleaners and EPA-approved disinfectants are used properly, these are safe and effective for preventing COVID-19 transmission through contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.
Dr. Jen Zubler: As a pediatrician I would recommend wearing a mask, face shields are not considered a replacement for masks. Shields can be added if there is risk of sprays and splashes of body fluids along with other protections like gloves and gowns. This maybe a consideration for children with special healthcare needs being cared for within the school setting.
Q: Do you feel additional zinc, vit d and vit c aids in the prevention?
Dr. Vincent Hill: Thank you, Jen, for clarifying that. CDC recommends the use of face masks as the primary means of stopping the spread of respiratory droplets. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
Q: Thank you for the resources and links to supporting Schools and Families!
Dr. Jen Zubler: As far as I know there are no known effective prevention vitamin supplements. There has been a lot of mention of things that “may” help. As always before considering any supplements discuss their use with your doctor or your child’s doctor, who knows your current medical conditions and medications.
Dr. Vincent Hill: Dr. Berendes is a hygiene expert in the CDC Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch (WDPB). He’s also a new father and not able to be with you all tonight. I am the Chief of WDPB. My background and training is in environmental science and microbiology. Happy to be with you all in Missouri PTA.
Q: Can you explain why some municipalities are using waste water to identify hot zones?
Dr. Vincent Hill: That’s a very interesting topic. CDC has lots of information on the use of wastewater testing for COVID-19 surveillance. Please see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/wastewater-surveillance.html
Q: Thank you, I will read further!
Q: I like the CDC resources, thank you!
Q: Do you have any specific suggestions for instrumental (band) and vocal music classes?
Dr. Vincent Hill: Please note that our slides specifically noted the use of paper towels for drying hands. Air hand dryers are also effective. You can find additional handwashing information here: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
Dr. Jen Zubler: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-staff.html#music-choir-arts
Dr. Jen Zubler: Above are CDC’s recommendations for music and Choir classes
Q: Thank you! I will pass that on to our band and choir instructors.
Q: Are you recommending that the “Soft” items not be returned to classrooms in the future, moving forward?
Dr. Vincent Hill: I think the idea is to consider the importance of having porous surface materials in classrooms, balancing their importance to classroom activities, environment, and curriculum vs. the difficulty in cleaning them to protect against potential virus transmission. Where possible to switch to materials that can be effectively cleaned and disinfected, it may make sense to switch to those.
Dr. Jen Zubler: CDC has recommendations on childcare and preschool setting for “soft” more difficult to clean items that might also be helpful to review.
Dr. Jen Zubler : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html#CleanDisinfect
Q: Thank you for that resource
Q: Can you explain why it is suggested to wait 24 hours or as long as possible to clean the room where a person with Covid was at a school? It was mentioned when someone is sick at school to put them in a separate room and then wait to clean it after them leaving it.
Dr. Jen Zubler: The waiting period is to reduce the risk of exposure to the person(s) cleaning the room.
Q: Thanks to everyone for being here tonight!
Dr. Vincent Hill: There is much to learn about SARS-CoV-2 survival and transmission in the environment. Based on current scientific understanding about the survival of the virus in the environment and on surfaces, CDC recommends waiting 24 hours or as long as practical after persons suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the room.
Q: Thank you for this