Paediatricians support keeping schools open in Omicron

As Aotearoa responds to Omicron, a group of paediatricians and public health physicians say schools should remain open, as safely as possible.

Dr Jin Russell has led a group of doctors advocating for schools to remain open, as safely as possible in Omicron.

School closures should be avoided if possible during Omicron, according to a group of paediatricians and public health physicians. 

The doctors point to negative health affects for children in lockdown and the benefits of going to school in an open paper led by the University of Auckland’s Dr Jin Russell.

Children do not generally get severe illness in Covid-19 and schools are not as significant contributors to transmission as other high-risk contexts, the doctors say.

Weighed against that are the negative impacts of school closures widening educational inequities, poorer mental health, behavioural difficulties, social isolation, family stress, family violence, and food insecurity.