In a few weeks kids in Central Texas will step back into the classroom, but this time without mask mandates or other COVID-19 restrictions.
Still some parents are worried, especially for younger students who still cannot get the vaccine.
“I think that they may be more because now they’re spending time together with your friends, they share chips and all that other stuff. I’ve had my hesitations about it,” said Killeen Parent Paris Groves.
“If there’s nothing put in place, my fear as a mother since we’re gonna be hitting another way we’re already seeing in the rest of the country that’s going to be dangerous for our children,” said Belton Parent Shayna Sanders.
COVID cases are suddenly on the rise again. You can blame low vaccination rates in some parts of the state and the new Delta Variant. Now, The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines Monday recommending in-person instruction, but also that everyone older than 2-years-of-age wear masks while at school.
“We really want kids back in school, but we want them back in school safely. We also want to protect the adults they are around as well,” said Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dominic Lucia.
The organization also recommends physical distancing, screening, testing, ventilation, and handwashing. Lucia said while kids do not get COVID-19 as bad as adults, we have seen severe cases in our area.
“We’ve had several of those hospitalizations during the pandemic where the child had Covid or had Covid symptoms, and then came into our ICU extremely sick from that. We believe that disease process has been under reported and we certainly have seen this in Bell County and beyond,” said Dr. Lucia.
Some parents are hoping local school districts push to put mask mandates and COVID protocols back in place.
“We need all the kids to work together to wear a mask if they’re not vaccinated yet,” said Sanders.
But others think otherwise.
“If you have a mask on and there are gonna be times where you going to be taking a drink of water or eating or doing something you had to take it off. In my opinion, it doesn’t really help anything,” said Groves.
Instead, they believe the schools should focus on more preventative measures like improving ventilation, social distancing, and more ways for kids to build UP their immune system.
Due to Governor Abbott’s executive order schools cannot enforce mandates or COVID protocols. Officials with local school districts like Waco, Temple, and Copperas Cove ISD say they are working on re-opening plans to give to local parents.
They are planning to have those finalized before the school year begins.