This week marked an unusual return to school. Whether in person, through remote learning, or some combination of the two, this has certainly been challenging for both families and schools alike.
As pediatricians, we use the updated CDC recommendations to determine the need for COVID-19 testing. Current testing is based on a child’s symptoms plus exposure risks that include: close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, the current level of COVID-19 in the community, and potential exposure risks from travel. Please read the CDC policies on screening students K-12 for COVID-19, and pay close attention to the return-to-school recommendations.
Since school has started, it has come to our attention that if a child is sent home from school with any symptoms of illness, some schools are requiring clearance from the child’s pediatrician, AND a COVID-19 test in order to return to school. Although this requirement for a COVID-19 test for every student before they return to school may not align with the CDC recommendations and the clinical decision making of physicians, we understand that schools have made these rules to keep everyone safe in a very challenging environment. If your child is sent home from school due to a symptom of illness, we will support you through the return to school process as required by your school.
Appointments are available at Pediatric Associates for a medical provider in our office to evaluate your child if they are sent home from school. We are unable to write a note to clear your child unless we see and evaluate them in person. Right now, COVID-19 testing is not yet available in our office. We are on a waiting list for a shipment of rapid COVID-19 tests that can be performed as a nasal swab in our office with results in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, we do not yet know when this shipment will arrive but will keep you posted on our website.
Returning to school is therefore a 2-step process: a visit to the pediatrician plus an off-site COVID-19 test (see bottom of post for COVID-19 testing sites). Current test results are typically available within a minimum of 24 hours and your child must remain at home in quarantine while awaiting test results.
We will continue to do our very best to support our families through this back to school transition and will keep you updated as recommendations and requirements change over time.
Effective immediately, all patients, both sick and well, will be entering the building through the front entrance. If your child is sick, please remain in your car when you arrive, and call our front desk to check in. We will call you in when a room is available, and you will enter through the front of the building to that room. When your appointment is complete, you will leave out the back door of the building. If you are well, you may come right into the front entrance to check in. When your appointment is complete, return to the front desk only if you need to schedule a follow up well appointment. Otherwise, please leave out the back door of the building.
We will continue to update these guidelines for our office as needed, based on changing volumes of sick and well patients, and to maintain social distancing within our building. We remind you that we ask only 1 well parent to accompany their child/children during an office visit (except for newborn appointments), and that faces should be covered with a mask or other similar covering when entering the building.
Thank you to all of our families for working with us during these complicated times. We are very pleased with how well things have been going in our offices and we owe that to our families, staff and nurses for their hard work and for graciously accommodating us as our guidelines continue to change and evolve over time.
Pediatric Associates now has the ability to conduct some office visits via Telemedicine. We will provide this service through the current COVID-19 public health emergency, during usual office hours (9:00am-4:00pm for Telemedicine) on weekdays.
Our nurses and office staff will evaluate your request for a Telemedicine visit based on our ability to perform the necessary physical assessment that may be somewhat limited by the video platform. Our provider will remain in a private examining room or office throughout the visit. It will not be recorded.
We will conduct the visit via the Zoom video conferencing platform easily downloaded from the app store or other sources of apps, or accessed online at Zoom.us. You do not need to have an account with Zoom, you simply access the app or website, push the "join" button and enter the I.D. number provided by our office.* Please be patient waiting as we may not be immediately on time. Feel free to wait in the Zoom virtual waiting room or call the office if the wait time seems overly extended.
We will evaluate your child and recommend diagnostics and treatments based on our assessment. We will provide follow-up care in person if or when that becomes essential.
*Third-party applications such as Zoom, Facetime, and Skype do potentially introduce privacy risks
Great resource for children asking questions about Coronavirus. Good listening for parents too!
If your child is experiencing respiratory distress or rapidly worsening symptoms, please call 911 for immediate assistance.
Our office remains open during regular 9-5 business hours. Our answering service and night nurses are currently being inundated with after hours phone calls. Calls are triaged by acuity/urgency and there will be prolonged wait times for non-urgent phone calls.
Please do not call back multiple times as this does not decrease your wait time. Wait times may be an hour or longer but you will have your call returned.
We ask that prescription refill requests, non-urgent concerns, and questions about Coronavirus, be saved for during our business hours, in order to decrease the call volume overnight so we can better serve those with an urgent issue.
If you have a question about Coronavirus outside our business hours and feel it can not wait until the morning, please contact the NYS hotline at 888-364-3065 or see the resources available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
The Upstate hotline is also available at 315-464-3979 from 7am to 11pm.