MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With students beginning to return to school Monday amid the COVID pandemic, there are undoubtedly a lot of questions.

Is it safe for them? What about their teachers? And what about the president’s headline-making car ride Sunday?

CBS4 asked FIU infectious disease specialist Dr. Aileen Marty about all of it.

Questioning started with President Donald Trump out of the hospital and in his SUV to wave at his supporters, which many felt the put the Secret Service at risk.

“The president is early in his infection, early in his symptoms, and he’s shedding a massive amounts of the virus. The mask he was wearing was not sealed, so it’s quite likely the virus could enter into the eyes, not just of nose or mouth,” she explained. “So it depends on the kind of PPE that was used by the people in the vehicle with him.”

And while the country is focused on the president’s health, here in South Florida, parents are also focused on their children.

The first public school students went back to the classroom in Miami-Dade Monday.

Among those safety measures: opening windows when possible to help get ventilation in the classroom. Also, teachers who have other health risks should consider wearing eye protection.

“Miami-Dade Public Schools and Broward have taken heroic efforts to make the environment as safe as possible given the constraints. No matter the policies in place, still, there is the factor of human behavior to take into account,” Dr. Marty said. “So it’s really very important for parents to have their children follow the new normal guidelines and to wear facial coverings consistently throughout the day.”

And that means all day.

All students and staff are required to wear face masks. With desks spaced just three feet apart, they are considered necessary to keep the classroom safe.

“To students in the classroom and to the adults there. But they can mitigate these threats and they need to mitigate these the best they can so they can have a good experience and a safe experience,” she said.

Dr. Marty said lunch in the classroom is a big concern, because aerosol droplets can linger in the classroom air. she encouraged teachers who have them to use HEPA filters in those classrooms.

She also recommended that parents send their kids to school with at least two masks.  The one they are wearing, and a backup in case something happens to it.  Parents should also talk to them about good hygiene.

Lauren Pastrana

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