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Local Health Experts Recommending Schools Move To Virtual Learning To Help Prevent Surge Of COVID-19 Cases During Holidays

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The surge in coronavirus cases has some local health experts recommending all schools move to virtual learning. On Friday, Dr. David Rubin with the PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia joined Eyewitness News to discuss this guidance.

Dr. Rubin says there have been weekly forecasts done to help people understand the direction of the pandemic and they are seeing "considerable" rises in the forecasts.

"Over the next four weeks, we are seeing considerable rises in the forecast, not just for cases but for hospitalizations, the use of ventilators in the region are already starting to go up," he said.

Dr. Rubin went on to say that the Philadelphia region is just a few weeks behind what is going on in the Midwest and Mountain states.

"We want to avoid a major crisis in the holiday season, recognizing this is happening at the wrong time. This is right before two major holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, where we suspect there's going to be a lot of transmissions," he said.

A week after Halloween, Dr. Rubin says there was a major surge in COVID-19 cases around the region, particularly in kids.

We also asked Dr. Rubin about a Zoom meeting where parents and health officials in Montgomery County discussed the idea of going to all-virtual learning for two weeks.

One person expressed concern about the mental health of children if they are not able to interact with their peers and that the students may not retain what they are taught in the classroom.

Dr. Rubin says he agrees that kids need to get back to school but we have to differentiate the entire response over periods.

"We support kids being in school. We think schools are a safe place, but we have to assume at these very high rates and just before Thanksgiving, we have to start thinking about this in smaller blocks," he said. "And I think that is what I would distinguish for those who are worried about kids being out of school, our goal right now to focus on Thanksgiving."

He also says by restricting gatherings over the holidays there is an opportunity to prevent a real surge that would threaten the capacity of hospitals.

Watch the video to hear the full interview.


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