Dr. Hallberg is optimistic about classroom safety in the time of COVID-19

Children are getting their body temperatures checked.
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, teachers check students before a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas.
LM Otero | AP Photo file

Last week’s announcement of the state’s plan for schools in the fall has a lot of people wondering just how risky a classroom environment will be when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

Only time will tell, but our weekly medical analyst (and husband to a teacher) Dr. Jon Hallberg is optimistic.

“I think if a classroom setting is designed to keep students and teachers socially distanced, if everyone is wearing masks, if high touch spots are cleaned repeatedly, [and if] you’re pretty sure the people in the room aren’t sick, then the risk is less,” said Hallberg, medical director of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic.

“Contrast that with a bar. You’re standing there without a mask, talking loudly over music. You’re shoulder to shoulder. That’s a very different scenario,” he said. “I think that a classroom is a much better place to be.”

But Hallberg said that depends on “honesty and compliance.” He said parents, students and staff need to be honest when they or someone in their household may be sick, and all need to comply with safety guidelines.

You can learn more about the guidelines for Minnesota schools here and see all of our schools coverage here. Click play on their audio player above to hear the full conversation with Dr. Hallberg.

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