republican debate

Return of mask mandates, school closures: Is it necessary?

  • COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the U.S. as students are back in school
  • Doctor: "We always get an uptick in virus in this season … stay vigilant"
  • Expert: "To keep kids home or force them to wear masks is an overreaction"

DALLAS (NewsNation) — Some schools across the country are already grappling with an uptick in COVID-19 cases, temporarily closing or reinstating masks along with other pandemic regulations as hospitalizations from the virus are on the rise.

The trend has raised questions about whether this may prompt other schools nationwide to follow suit.

Doctors say it is not uncommon for this time of year when everyone goes back to school that illnesses like COVID, the flu and RSV start to tick up.

“We always get an uptick in virus in this season, and it’s important for people to be vigilant,” Dr. Payal Adhikari said.

At least two school districts in Kentucky have already announced temporary closures on their Facebook pages due to illness but wouldn’t say which.

At least one school district in Texas has also reportedly followed suit, with its online tracker revealing 10 staff members with active COVID cases — which is about 23% of the district’s staff, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Morris Brown College in Atlanta has also instituted a mandatory two-week masking period due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

Some health workers believe those protocols might be an overstep. Plus, the CDC has not recently recommended any COVID-related mandates.

“To keep kids home or to force them to wear masks is an overreaction,” said Peter Pitts with the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, “The thing to do if you’re concerned is to get vaccinated. If you haven’t gotten boosted, get boosted. That’s the best thing to do.”

Another thing to think about when schools are closing because of illness, many schools are understaffed and don’t have enough staff to cover when a large percentage is out sick.

The latest updated COVID booster vaccine will be available sometime in mid-September. The CDC meets Sept. 12 to discuss.


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