Transcript for More answers to your COVID-19 questions
Well, with plenty of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, many parents are now in limbo on how to navigate the summer and schools safely during this pandemic so moms from across the country reached out to us and to our experts to get some answers. Dr. Jennifer Ashton is back to help along with double board certified child and adolescent psychologist at Harvard medical school Dr. Neha chaudhary and CEO of prince George's public schools, Dr. Monica Goldson. They're all here to answer questions on the minds of so many pardons. Thank you all for being with us. Let's get right to our first question. Hi. My name is amber fuller, and I'm from Franklin, Tennessee. I have a 15-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son. As a parent I keep hearing from friends with kids of all ages that they're concerned about their students falling behind due to closures from covid-19. So my question is, do we need to be seriously concerned about lapses in their education, or is this a by-product of our performance-driven culture? Dr. Goldson, tell us your thoughts about the covid-19 learning slide that so many parents are worried about. Yes, thanks for that question. So it's natural for parents to be concerned, but educational leaders across the nation are equipped already to deal with what we call a summer learning loss. It's now compounded with the pandemic. So everywhere across the nation we're looking at ways to begin to close that summer learning loss. It could be through an extended school day in the fall or it could be through what we call scaffolding content. Regardless, we're going to address it when your students return so reach out to your child's principal to find out how they plan to address it. Great advice. Let's move to our next mom question. Hi, my name is Karen Horne and I'm from Cleveland, Ohio, and I have two kids, ages 11 and 5, and I was wondering if it's safe for them to go into a chlorinated pool, and also is it okay if they go to the beach and in the ocean? All right. Dr. Jen, it's officially summer this weekend. So what are your thoughts on pools and oceans? Here's what we know so far and obviously nothing says summer like swimming, so this is a natural top of mind question on so many people. It really comes down to four factors. Time, how long someone is in a given environment, space, how much space apart, which again when you're swimming or you're at a beach, it can be difficult to get that six feet minimum space apart. How many people are there, so how crowded the environment is and whether you're indoors or outdoors. When you talk about outdoors, what's the breeze like, what's the temperature like, the humidity? All are unknowns. The good news this virus has not been detected in chlorinated pool water. Those chemicals kill almost every pathogen and not detected in saltwater or freshwater. You can't and shouldn't wear masks while swimming. Right, right, I can understand why. Now we have another mom. Let's take a listen. Hi. My name is Lisa grant from Fairfax, Virginia, and my 16-year-old son just started a summer job at a fast food restaurant, but I'm concerned about his safety. How can I stress the importance of wearing proper ppe and safety to him? I feel like him and his friends don't take it seriously. How can I help them understand? Dr. Choudary, yes, as a mom of three teenagers, I can understand her concerns. How do we talk to them about safety precautions? Talking to teens is actually very, very challenging and what I tell parents is that the more you push them the more they are likely to push back. What you want to do is meet them where they're at which starts with having an open, honest nonjudgmental conversation in the spirit of trying to understand his perspective, trying to understand where he's coming from, what he knows and you might in that identify gaps in knowledge that you're then able to fill with a little bit of gentle education. Now, another ago tick that helps is trying to enlist the help of your teen in making a plan, saying something like, I know some workplaces are not taking appropriate precautions but we have grandma at home who we have to protect. What do you think we should do? Sometimes getting their buy-in helps them to follow through. All right. Very good advice. I was taking notes. Thank you. Let's go to our next parent. My name is Jane Spence and I'm from Alexandria, Virginia. My parents haven't seen my children since before the coronavirus. I'm worried that my children could be carriers and don't want to get my mom and dad sick. When is it safe for grandparents to see their grandchildren? Ah, Dr. Jen, I know. We've talked about this. This is a big question for so many families. It's a big question, and there's no official guidelines on this, because there is no hard clinical data yet on this but there are some commonsense steps that I think almost everyone can use. Number one, if you are going to arrange a visit and you've been in your bubbles thus far, you still want to keep as much distance in between the kids and the grandparents as possible. Seven feet is better than six, ten feet is better than seven. If possible, you want to do it outside where there's more ventilation. Masks on everyone, hand washing before and after and unfortunately at this time no hugging or kissing, those are just commonsense things to keep everyone safe. Right. That makes sense. We have our next mom question. Hi. My name is Donna, and I have a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old. We're from the bronx. What activities or anything do you suggest they do this summer since there's no summer jobs? Good question. Dr. Goldson, you work with a lot of students. You also have teenagers yourself. So what do you suggest? Yes, zomaxize this time having them at home with you and utilize free resources your school library probably has online available. They can do S.A.T. And A.C.T. Preparation. They can learn a new language and the culture of the people that actually speak that language. You could do a book study as a family and talk about the characters and plots and how you feel as you're moving through each chapter, and you could also do community service, which can help your child as they're applying for college or for the world of work when they graduate from high school. I love that. All right. We've got our next mom question now. Hi. My name is Dineen Douglas, from ft. Worth, Texas. I'm a mom of three, ages 10, 7 and 4. This past year my 4-year-old started school. It was a shock to her because she's used to being at home. Once the pandemic started, she was back at home with us, and now I am not sure how to get her back into school once it re-opens. Because she is attached to us, I worry that it will be a traumatic experience. All right. Dr. Chaudary, this sounds like a problem a lot of parents have when they put their child into school for the very first time. Now things will be looking different, feeling different. What do you suggest for this mom and the rest of them? I found that kids are a lot more resilient than parents often think they are so the first step would be to sit down with your child and ask. Ask him or her what is it you're worried about, if anything. Are you excited about school? What do you like about it? The important thing is if a kid is worried, make sure they feel heard to tell them, I know this is going to be tough, it's not going to be easy but I also know that we're going to get through it together. Something you might want to try is create a bravery ladder where each rung of the ladder is taking a small step toward separating from parents and going back to school even if school looks different. That might look like something as simple as driving through the school parking lot, waving to a teacher, practicing keeping distance or wearing a mask. The important thing is, no matter what you put on the ladder with your child, to reward them then for being brave. That says that they chose to be brave, and they earned their reward. At the end of the day you want the child to call the shots not the anxiety. That's good. I love that. We've got another mom question. Let's take a look. Hi, I'm brandy Wallace from Dallas, Texas. A mother to 2 1/2-year-old twins Noah and Miley. Before the pandemic they were in day care. Now they're home with me as I work from home. The day care is opening up soon and I'm not sure if it's too soon to send them back. Since they're too young for masks, do you recommend keeping them home, or is it safe to send them back? Big question, Dr. Jen. It is a big question although whenever I hear toddlers and twins in the same sentence, all I can think of is exhaustion and she looks so amazing. This is really a question that there is no hard scientific data or answer to. It's more of a conceptual theoretical or psychological question, which is what the end point? We can't put our children or ourselves in a sterile environment. We can't live our lives in a plastic bubble. If things are not better in September, they might not be better in November or January, so what is literally the end point, so it's about making that individual decision. Your risk tolerance, trying to mitigate risk because you can't remove it entirely. That's right. Thank you very much, Dr. Jen. Always great. Dr. Chaudhary, Dr. Goldson, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. Thank you.
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