Health district talks handling COVID-19 in schools

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s rule of no mask mandates keeps school districts from requiring masks, that is something Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District Director Lou Kreidler said can make things difficult for this upcoming school year. She said the ban on masks takes control away from officials who can prevent the spread of COVID.

“Until we can get them vaccinated, our chances of reaching herd immunity is very limited,” said Dr. Terry Johnson, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician.

Johnson said children account for 20% of the population and with them all back in school in the next few weeks, the chances of COVID spreading is high; Kreidler agrees.

“My biggest fear is that we’re going to have outbreaks when school starts because they can’t mandate that students wear a mask and they can’t require their teachers to wear masks,” said Kreidler.

Johnson said even if students wear a mask in school and their friends aren’t wearing one, they may feel pressured to take theirs off. We’ve already seen examples of when a kid wants to wear a mask but his friends make fun of him.

If students don’t wear a mask in class and come in contact with a student who tested positive, they will be sent home.

“If there’s no one in the classroom wearing a mask then they would have to quarantine,” explained Kreidler.

But a student could keep going to school if they have had a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Really one of the biggest reasons to get vaccinated is that if you are exposed to COVID then you’re not required to quarantine,” added Kreidler.

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