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Surgeon General Stresses Child Wellness in Push to Reopen Schools

July 8, 2020, 7:49 PM

Children whose parents have avoided bringing them in for annual wellness checkups will benefit by returning to the classroom, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Wednesday.

“We have almost five million children that are behind on vaccinations because they’re scared to go in and their parents are scared to take them into the doctors for their wellness visits,” Adams said during a panel hosted by America’s Physician Groups.

“We also know that many children get vaccinated to go to school, so if you’re not going to school, no one’s checking to make sure you’re getting that vaccination,” he said.

Adams added that “many cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse are going missed, because they’re often picked up when children are in school.”

The surgeon general’s remarks came the same day that Trump administration officials pushed for a full reopening of U.S. schools in the fall. Adams also reiterated the importance of wearing face coverings, washing hands, and maintaining safe distances as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to surge.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously issued some guidance for schools, but was met with criticism from President Donald Trump. Trump called the existing guidelines “very tough & expensive” in tweets on Wednesday, and has also threatened to cut off funding to schools that don’t reopen.

The CDC plans to issue additional recommendations next week, according to Trump administration officials. CDC Director Robert Redfield said at a separate briefing that they’re only recommendations, and weren’t intended “to be used as a rationale to leave these schools closed.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ayanna Alexander in Washington at aalexander@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Alexis Kramer at akramer@bloomberglaw.com

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