SMAB COVID-19 ‘Back to School’ Recommendations for Patient Families

August 18, 2021
Bruce H. Cohen, MD, FAAN
Chairman, UMDF Scientific and Medical Advisory Board

As students return to the classroom this fall, the UMDF’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board has issued the following recommendations for mitochondrial disease patient families.

First and foremost, given the potential risks associated with infection in children with mitochondrial disease, the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB) reminds us that consistent and correct mask use is important for indoors and in crowded settings, such as schools. The current guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for school settings include indoor masking for all individuals age 2 years and older, as well as students, teachers, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. As families may have many members, everyone in the family should follow the same guidelines outside the home. A COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for those eligible by FDA guidelines, after consultation with their physician. It is important to remember the scientific evidence suggests that even fully vaccinated persons and those that have acquired COVID-19 as a natural infection can be infected by the Delta variant and spread the disease to others regardless of the presence of symptoms or not.
More specific advice for any one affected person beyond social distancing and proper mask use is not possible to provide in this type of communication, as risk of COVID-19 infection varies greatly based on location. If available in your school district, continued virtual learning may be an option to consider if local conditions or family situations dictate.

As always, follow the directions of YOUR doctor who knows your specific condition best.
As the situation changes, UMDF may alter this statement.

See additional COVID-19 Resources here.