The latest COVID-19 surge now hurting kids in the classroom

Latest surge sees several district transition temporarily to online learning.
Latest surge sees several district transition temporarily to online learning.(WBRC)
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 8:00 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As of Thursday, eight different school districts in our area have shifted to distance learning.

Pediatric Infectious Disease expert Dr. Kimberlin is addressing the latest surge and its effect on children.

“Our percent positivity is just extraordinary. State wide we are just under fifty percent I think like forty eight percent of the tests that are sent are positive. In the Children’s of Alabama Emergency Department it is fifty six percent of children that are tested because they have symptoms that could be consistent with COVID are actually testing positive,” said said Co-director of UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. David Kimberlin.

Dr. Kimberlin once again stressing that masks could be utilized to keep kids in the classroom.

“My advice for schools is that they require masks inside of schools, that’s what the Alabama Department of Public Health advises, that is what the county health departments advise, that is what the American Academy of Pediatrics advises, that is what the Infectious Diseases Society of America advises, that what the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society advises - this is not difficult information and guidance,” said Dr. Kimberlin. “It is out there in plain sight. What we need to do is actually implement it. That is the immediate thing that schools can do to try and mitigate this a little bit.”

Even with Omicron popping up in younger age groups, many schools are shifting to online learning due to the number of adults testing positive.

“The real challenge is there is not enough adults, there is not enough teachers, there is not enough janitorial staff, there is not enough in the lunchroom - there is just not enough adults to work in the schools and some schools are going remote for that reason,” said Dr. Kimberlin.

The district’s temporary moves will allow them to re-open schools once enough staff clear quarantine protocols, but many parents worry the back and forth could harm the kids.

“Going back and forth, one week of e-learning then potentially going back into traditional learning for two weeks or a month and then closing for two to three days. Our kids just can’t adjust to that,” said mother of twelve Page Perdue-Rogers.


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