Pediatrician fears winter COVID surge fueled by spread in schools

TULSA, Oklahoma — Medical experts said Tuesday the latest trend in coronavirus infections is promising. However, some pediatricians don’t feel that way about their age group.

“I expect this winter to be one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I hope I’m wrong. Really, I hope I’m wrong,” said Dr. Travis Campbell, president of the Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis. “A lot of that has to do with the kids going to school and the spread of the Delta variant is increasing. .”

The first few weeks of in-person classes in the Delta variant are causing some Green Country school districts to shift their COVID policies.

Tulsa Public Schools reported a total of 1,179 infections and exposures on Tuesday. All TPS students are now “expected” to wear masks on school grounds to prevent the spread.

“To protect the kids who can’t vaccinate yet,” Campbell said.

David Crow has enrolled some of those vulnerable students at Jenks Public Schools. Because his fifth-grader and kindergarten student are not eligible for the vaccine, he has reapplied them for distance learning.

“We’d love to physically put them back in a classroom, but until we feel like everything is safe at Jenks, we just can’t,” Crow said.

In a school board meeting just before the first day of class, district board members voted to “strongly encourage” the wearing of masks in school facilities. So far, the district reports 131 positive cases.

“You make everything so vulnerable to closure in an instant,” Crow said. “It’s not good for families, it’s not good for teachers and it’s especially not good for students.”

Crow said he was forced to prioritize his children’s health over their education. The kids are less than one percent of Jenks students learning through Trojan Connect, the district’s home curriculum, but with medical experts’ cautious look at schools for the winter, Crow is confident he’s made the best choice for now. .

“I need my kids at school, but I want them to be safe,” he said. “I want both things to happen.”

The Jenks Board of Education announced a special meeting to discuss and “possibly vote” on a temporary mask requirement for all students, staff and visitors. The meeting is Thursday at 5 p.m. in the district building.

Stay connected with us anytime, anywhere —

Comments are closed.