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Pediatrician worried about 'spring break effect' on COVID cases as students return to in-person learning

Doctor shares best practices during spring break travel to avoid COVID-19 spike as students return to in-person learning.

DENVER — Across the Denver Metro area, school districts will return from spring break to begin full in-person learning at all grade levels for the first time in a year. Dr. Hector de Leon, a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente in Fort Collins explained the possible impact on COVID-19.

Spring break is a time when many families like to travel and Dr. de Leon hopes this does not lead to a "Spring Break Effect" on COVID-19 cases.

"With the pandemic still in place, we're not out of the woods yet," de Leon said. "There is a concern with people traveling not so much traveling itself or even getting on a plane. But, it's what you do when you arrive."

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"The intent is to get away from our day-to-day and our norms and I think people do tend to relax some of their behaviors and practices," de Leon said.

He said wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing do work if families make them work while on vacation.

"We're just trying to spread the message of what we know works," Dr. de Leon said. "We all have a part to play here."

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This week, Adams 12 Five Star Schools and the Boulder Valley School District are on spring break. Jefferson County and Denver go on break next week. When their students return to classes, it will be the first time middle and high school students are back to fully in-person versus hybrid.

The doctor does worry about schools not equipped to handle everyone coming back.

"I think it's really hard for larger schools with limited resources to really be able to do what's recommended," de Leon said.

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For that reason, de Leon said parents and kids must be responsible in big crowds and if someone is sick, they must quarantine at home.

"We can't really let our guard down quite yet," de Leon said. "As much as we're exhausted and ready to, we've got to get through the finish line."

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