What a Boston doctor is advising as kids return to school and workers head back to the office amid omicron

“Make some contingency plans.”

A Boston doctor shared his advice on Monday as students returned to classrooms after the holidays and workers face a return to the office amid a surge of the highly contagious omicron variant.

Dr. Ali Raja, interim head of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, told CNN that the first thing anxious parents should do before sending their children back to school is give them a COVID-19 test.

“If you have tests, please test your kids before sending them back this morning,” he said. “And if they have symptoms and you can’t get tested, please keep them home. But also, make some contingency plans.”


The doctor said he is worried about schools needing to switch to remote learning, not because of students falling ill but because teachers and staff will be sick with COVID-19. 

“I’m worried about teachers and all the other people in the schools getting sick and having to close things down temporarily,” he said.

Meanwhile, for adults who have traveled recently and are weighing whether to return to the office, Raja said a lot depends on a person’s risk of exposure and what happened on the recent trip. 

“If you don’t have any symptoms and were taking all the necessary precautions during your trip, you should feel comfortable going back to work,” he said. “There’s no guidance or guidelines that say you shouldn’t go back. But honestly, if you were traveling for a big New Year’s blowout and there was lots of unmasked people around and you may have had an exposure and just not know it yet, you should stay home and make sure you get tested before you get back.”

Watch his full appearance below:


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