Back to School—Maybe?

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Pharmacy Times, August 2020, Volume 88, Issue 8

Pharmacy Times will continue to bring readers the latest information on COVID-19 developments, in a variety of formats.

It has been an unprecedented 6 months in the United States, and slowly, we are readying children to return to a strange new normal that has never been seen before.

Pharmacists have dealt with not only COVID-19 but an ancillary disease that has affected young people around the world: multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). As information continues to emerge about this illness, health officials are struggling with how to best advise school officials about opening their doors.

The school semester as of press time is still somewhat of an unknown in many districts, but as of this point, one thing is certain: bringing students, teachers, and other staff members back into classrooms will require a multilayered approach that will likely, according to the CDC, encourage parents to screen children for signs of illness every morning, make sure that they are up-to-date with recommended vaccines, and provide them with multiple cloth face coverings to be worn throughout the school day.

There is also still much unknown about how both COVID-19 and MISC-C will play out in the long run. The swell of warmer weather has not shown a drop in cases as originally hoped, and in fact, in many states, infection rates and hospitalizations continue to rise. Nevertheless, there is room for optimism: from newly approved drug therapies to a variety of clinical trials for vaccines, medical communities are moving at warp speed to address this illness.

As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, Pharmacy Times will continue to bring readers the latest information on COVID-19 developments, in a variety of formats, including a recent back-to-school webinar that focused on this very topic and another recent webinar, Immunization Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which was designed to inform pharmacists about best practices for how to advise patients during these complicated times. There are also a number of related articles on the subject of COVID-19 and vaccines throughout the pages of this issue.

We wish children and all who work in schools a safe academic year and know that they can count on pharmacists to provide advice and education during these extraordinary times.