American Academy of Pediatrics head warns kids could have 'suicidal ideations' if schools don't reopen

Dr. Sara Goza says 'the goal should be to have students physically present in the school'

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging officials to reopen schools this fall and allow children to be physically present in classrooms despite a surge in coronavirus cases across parts of the U.S.

"After weighing what we know about children and the coronavirus, we really strongly advocate that the goal should be to have students physically present in the school," AAP President Dr. Sara Goza told "The Daily Briefing" Monday.

"Children learn more in school than just reading, writing and arithmetic," she went on, suggesting that long-term at-home learning can affect children's social and emotional skills, diet, exercise, mental health support "and other things that just cannot be provided online."

Last month, President Trump urged schools to reopen throughout the U.S., but many of the nation’s school districts have yet to announce solid plans for the upcoming school year.

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"We do know that health officials and school officials and parents are going to have to be able to be nimble and flexible and ready to switch gears based on what their community's prevalence of COVID-19 is," Goza said.

Despite the surge in confirmed cases -- approximately 40,000 per day, Goza said her recommendation is based on the "evidence we know right now, [that] COVID-19 appears to behave differently in children and adolescents compared to adults."

Nearly every state ordered or recommended that schools be closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year limit the spread of coronavirus and protect the health of students during the pandemic. However, Goza warned the continuation of online learning could have negative ramifications if children cannot return to school in the fall.

"Some children do really well with that type of education but some children really need to be in the classroom," she said. "Beyond supporting educational development ... schools play a critical role in role in addressing racial and social inequities."

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In the absence of school, some children have been placed in daycare centers and have only been able to do school work after they return in the evening, Goza explained. Other children who rely on school lunches have not been receiving consistent healthy meals, she added.

"Those are all very important things on why schools need to be open," she said. "It can lead adolescents to become depressed and anxious, and even [lead to] suicidal ideations. Those are all good reasons why we feel these school should be trying to open up."

Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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