Doctor discusses keeping Mississippi children safe from COVID as they return to class


HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Keeping children safe is a primary concern for parents and school leaders as Mississippi students head back to class.

With schools returning to in person learning in recent weeks, there’s been an uptick in COVID-19 cases among students and teachers. This has forced some districts to close or quarantine their students.

“This Delta variant seems to be infecting anywhere from five to eight, so we are seeing widespread transmission amongst schools and that is really concerning to us right now as pediatricians,” said Dr. Anita Henderson, who is a pediatrician at the Hattiesburg Clinic and the president of the Mississippi Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.

She is asking everyone to be cautious, especially with the rising number of COVID cases among school-aged children.

“Our message to school boards, school administrators is go ahead and make plans now to protect your students, and those plans include universal masking along with hygiene, spacing, ventilation and encouraging all children and staff 12 and up to go ahead and get vaccinated.”

Henderson addressed the Lamar County School Board during a meeting on Monday to discuss the dangers of the Delta variant. She provided some guidance on the best methods to reduce the spread of the virus in the classroom.

“We are asking parents, administrators, we are asking the leaders of our state to do something. Be proactive and make plans to protect our children,” she said.

Parents said they are concerned about their kids returning to school amid the uptick in cases.

“I’m all for in-person learning, because I think it’s better for the children, and I’m deeply concerned about the younger kids not wearing their masks. I think that all parents should just be mindful of having their children wear their masks for their protection and the protection of the other children,” said Anita Wilson, who is a parent.

Lamar County Schools will move to a hybrid learning schedule beginning August 16, 2021. Pre-K students will have in person learning, while grades K-12 will alternate between in person and virtual.

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