Parents worry, anticipate 'rollercoaster' as Texas kids return to school amid COVID surge
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The omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the state as classes resume for most Texas school kids after their holiday break.
Many school districts across North Texas resumed classes this week after a couple weeks off for winter break.
Some parents at Lakewood Elementary School in the Dallas Independent School District shared their complicated feelings about sending children back into classrooms, as the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge.
Amid the hugs and "love you's," help with backpacks and face masks, mom Lauren Cureton was ready for a return to the daily schedule when school resumed Wednesday. Her family was able to get away to France over the winter break.
"We all got tested before we went and after we came back," Cureton said. "Over there, you have to have a health pass to go into every restaurant and every store...so we felt safe. But it was awesome to just get away and feel normal for a bit.”
But Cureton said the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases means uncertainty and worry persist.
“I feel like it gets better and then it gets worse and it gets better and it gets worse,” Cureton said. “How long is that going to last? I mean, I feel like until everyone gets vaccinated and gets on board with taking care of each other, it's going to be this roller coaster for a while.”
Jim Barrett said his entire family had been vaccinated and also received their booster shots. He’s aware, however, that many Texans remain unvaccinated.
“I don't understand why everyone's so reluctant to get shots,” said Barrett. “You know, we've been doing it for decades with all the shots required to go to school anyway. Everyone's had their measles, mumps, rubella shot. Why not (the) COVID shot?”
Another Lakewood Elementary parent, Joe Hildebrand, likes that his kids are back in class. They’re also all vaccinated and the district makes them mask up.
“By a long shot. It's far more important for the kids to be in school than to be at home,” he said. “The importance of education far outweighs the risks of the virus.”
To mitigate that risk, Dallas ISD insists everyone on any school property wear a mask. That runs counter to the governor’s order against any mask mandate.
With omicron’s spread, a few Texas school districts chose to postpone in-person classes. Lancaster ISD for example will hold virtual classes this week. It’ll welcome students back on Monday, Jan. 10. Other Texas districts re-opening later than planned — because of omicron — include Weslaco, Driscoll, Mercedes, Kingsville and Bishop.