As a parent, there is always something to fret over when you read the headlines. Wars, famines, falling education rankings, etc., are daily reminders of the challenges that can affect our children’s lives. With the spread of COVID-19, parents have one more thing to think about as they strive to find ways to keep their children safe in an imperfect world.
COVID-19 in Arizona
As of March 22nd, there were just 152 cases of COVID-19 in Arizona. However, that represents known cases of people who have tested positive. Medical professionals around the world estimate the real number to be 7-8 times the known number. In the United States, there are currently more than 35,000 people infected with the COVID-19 virus. This number is growing quickly, and it may cause significant disruption to pending legal proceedings.
Children and COVID-19
Children are strong and resilient. So far, children around the world who have contracted COVID-19 have demonstrated significant resilience to the most serious effects of the virus. For most, mild symptoms are all that can be expected. However, there is an elevated risk for children with asthma, diabetes, or other health condition that weakens their immune system. Parents of children with weakened immune systems should take precautions.
These precautions include:
- Social Distancing. No playdates, no parties, no gathering with friends or extended family. Keep children home for the duration of the school closures and until any associated quarantines are lifted.
- Monitor Health. Parents should monitor their children’s health for signs of infection. These are similar to the flu, but are more akin to pneumonia. That means watch for fevers, persistent headaches, body aches, and breathing problems. If your child develops any of these symptoms, contact your medical provider for guidance. Breathing problems are a rare symptom in children, but if they appear, take your child to the nearest testing center. Banner Health has activated three in Phoenix and one in Tucson. Another testing option includes the Arizona State Public Health Lab.
- Monitor Mental Health. The current situation will raise many questions and concerns from children. Your children will need both biological parents and any step-parents to be honest and supportive. Monitor your children for signs of depression or emotional distress and take prompt action to support them. Often, a simple talk, a walk in the park, or some family time playing games or watching a movie can help alleviate their stress.
Transferring Children During Crisis in Arizona
Both parents have a duty of care to protect their children from harm. Again, while the risks are extremely small right now, parents should forego visitation if there is a possibility that they themselves are infected. Likewise, both parents should avoid placing their children in situations where they could contract the virus.
Currently, Arizona courts have significantly curtailed operations. As of last week, the Supreme Court of Arizona issued orders that, with limited exceptions, the courts are to suspend all in-person proceedings within the appellate, superior, justice, and municipal courts. This will last until at least April 17th. Unless the matter is critical, it is likely that the court will issue a continuance or additional accommodations until the risk of virus transmission recedes. For parents who want to amend custody orders and arrangements, this can still be done remotely via video conferencing between both parties, their divorce lawyer, and the courts.
For more information about court closures, protecting children from COVID-19, or parental rights and responsibilities when there are extenuating circumstances, contact the Simon Law Group, PLLC at 480-745-2450.