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Cook Children's On How Schools, Parents Can Keep Students Safe When They Go Back To Class

A classroom full of children with a chalkboard. The teacher is standing at the front of the room and a girl in the back of the classroom is raising her hand.
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Children in class.

Children under 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, so they could more easily contract and spread the virus — especially when they go back to school next month.

"Kids tend to congregate in the halls and in small groups, and we know that those kinds of interactions are where COVID-19 is easily passed in the school,” said Dr. Marc Mazade, medical director of infection control and prevention at Cook Children's Medical Center.

With COVID cases rising again, he said it's important to implement the tools that are proven to stop the virus from spreading.

In the 10-point plan the hospital released this week, Cook Children's stressed that schools should enforce social distancing, good hand hygiene and make sure to quarantine students and staff who've been exposed to COVID.

The guidance came the same week that Cook Children’s reported seeing a spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations. In a press release, the hospital said roughly 60 children were testing positive per day, 13 were hospitalized and of those five are in the Intensive Care Unit.

The hospital said those are the highest numbers they’ve seen since February, and similar levels they saw during the late-fall surge last year. Mazade attributed the rise in cases to the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.

After Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order preventing Texas schools from mandating face coverings this fall, Mazade said parents need to set an example for children.

"If you, as an adult, as a parent, aren't wearing your mask when you go out, the kids aren't going to model that when they go to school,” Mazade said.

But the most important thing he said parents can do?

“Don't send your kids to school sick, even if it means staying home with a sniffly kid."

Got a tip? Email Rebekah Morr at rmorr@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @bekah_morr.

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