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School reopenings pose difficulties for immunocompromised students, educators

Posted at 10:37 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 23:37:17-04

Months after most campuses shut their doors due to COVID-19, schools are weeks away from reopening.

"Ultimately, it's not a matter of if schools should reopen. It's simply a matter of how," said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

However, for parents like mom of three Jacqueline Miller, sending kids back to school in just a matter of weeks, is not that simple.

"He does want to spend time with kids but he knows at the same time, he can easily be sick. So it's hard making that decision obviously," she said.

Her youngest son has a rare genetic condition, which increases his chances of getting a more serious case of COVID-19. It is why her kids will not be attending in-person classes this fall.

Daily on-campus learning will be available to students across Texas. However, parents will also have the option to keep their kids at home.

For children with developmental disorders, disabilities or delays who will head back next month, the owner of Kidz Therapeze in Killeen says prepping her patients for class is now a part of therapy.

"He [patient] had on his mask and after he was finished putting the puzzle together with his occupational therapist, they were working down on the floor and they wiped the entire puzzle down," said Kelly Barr, doctor of physical therapy, pediatric board specialist, and owner of Kidz Therapeze.

But what about teachers?

"Uncomfortable as I'll get out. Very frustrating as an immunocompromised educator," said Rick Beaulé, president of the Killeen Educators Association and Texas State Teachers Association Region 10. "Teachers and educators for years have sometimes spent sometimes thousands of dollars of their own money in terms of purchasing school supplies. It's very frustrating that that may extend to personal protective equipment or PPE."

The Killeen ISD teacher added beyond supplies, there is the larger concern of health.

"If schools cannot open safely and take every single option in terms of protecting, you know, the students and the staff, then they should not open," said Beaulé.