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High, low or medium: Measuring the risks that come with common school day activities

A Southeast Texas doctor spoke to 12News about the risks that come with riding the bus, eating lunch in a cafeteria and other activities

BEAUMONT, Texas — Schools across Texas have put preventative measures in place to try to protect students and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Those include wearing masks, screening students for fever and requiring desks to be spread farther apart in classrooms. 

Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Msonthi Levine spoke to 12News on Wednesday about some of the risks that come with kids going back to school and how to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Examining the risks associated with regular school-day activities. 

A common activity for many students is riding the bus. How safe is that? 

"That's gonna be a high risk behavior. If someone had the virus and they are  asymptomatic and their coughing, sneezing, laughing. You're inventing those air cells and droplets."

Levine says the safest option is to ride in your personal vehicles or to walk if possible. 

"That should be a lower risk behavior. It's out in the open, there's air flow, especially, if no one is walking next to you," Levine said. 

How about returning to classrooms with CDC guidelines in place? 

"In my opinion, I'd put it in a moderate to low-risk category. Again, just because it depends on the ventilation in the room and concentration of students," Levine said. 

RELATED: Buna ISD to use temperature-screening devices at all school campuses

Are kids safe in the cafeteria at lunch time? 

"There's always a lot of talking, laughing and kind of clowning around in the cafeteria so I think that will be a high risk," Levine said. 

He says it's best to follow the science. Eating outside is a lower risk behavior. 

"You have that good ventilation preventing that air flow station stagnation in the air circulating so that you're less likely to inhale those particles," Levine said. 

What about extra curricular activities? Let's use choir as an example. 

"Absolutely, that will be sort of a more high risk behavior. Being in a choir, you're gonna get a lot of spray of virus particles, if you're asymptomatic or if you have the infection," Levine said. 

There is a measure of risk anytime you or your family goes out, so it's important to be mindful and play it safe as schools kick off the fall semester.