PUEBLO — Nine pediatricians in Pueblo have banded together to write a letter to Pueblo School District 60 and District 70, advocating for in-person learning in the fall.
After District 70 announced its plan to start the school year with remote learning, the pediatricians decided to come together and explain to both districts the importance of children being physically in the classroom.
"Being pediatricians and knowing what the COVID-19 rates are like here in southern Colorado, we felt that it wasn't a good choice for us and our families," said Dr. Loraine Carroll of Children's Clinic of Pueblo.
Carroll said they decided to write a letter expressing the benefits of in-person learning. In the letter, they discuss the importance of the social and emotional component that can't be replicated with online learning. They also mention how schools play a critical role in children getting healthy meals and exercise.
"They get a healthier diet and exercise. The children who are at risk sometimes get their therapies at school," said Carroll.
She says pediatricians at her practice have seen the negative impacts from the pandemic.
"We're seeing health issues such as obesity tick up. I like to joke with my patients, you've put on a little COVID weight, because they're not getting the nutrients they need," said Carroll.
Carroll said the American Academy of Pediatricians also recommends in-person learning. With the data the districts are using, she said kids won't go back to face-to-face learning any time soon.
"We're questioning some of the data that they're using and where they are getting the recommendations. We just want our recommendations voiced as a group," said Carroll.
She says while there are spikes in the region, there are no increases in hospitalizations or deaths. She says in-person learning is possible with the right instruction and data from medical professionals.`
The letter was submitted Monday and they haven't heard back from either district. The group hopes to have more involvement with district plans moving forward.