Health officials warn of a spike in Covid cases as students return to the classroom

NOW: Health officials warn of a spike in Covid cases as students return to the classroom

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Most Michiana schools are back in session, and for the first time in two years, students are starting the school year mask less! However, with cases higher than they were at this time in the past two years, that leaves health officials worried that Covid will make a comeback in the classroom.

”We all agree it’s important for kids to be in the classroom, but we also don’t want to compromise everyone else’s ability to be in that classroom,” says Dr. Mark Fox with the Saint Joseph County Department of Health.

Classrooms are filling back up with students for the school year, and with that comes some concerns as Covid cases are back on the rise. Recommendations differ from the C.D.C. and the state Health Department with what to do if your student comes down with the virus or comes in close contact.

“The CDC says after day five you can come back and interact in the public with a mask, or if you have two negative antigen tests then you can come back in public without a mask,” says Dr. Fox. “The school guidance says isolate five days, come back without a mask, just come back as normal.”

The state’s Covid guidelines is what worries health officials and leads them to believe that there will soon be a spike of Covid cases in the classroom.

“We have every reason to believe that that means more kids will be exposed, become sick, and be out of the classroom for a period of at least five days.”

With Covid vaccines available for children as young as six months, Dr. Fox advises that the vaccine does more in combatting the long-term effects in the student themselves, rather than preventing the spread in the classroom.

“The vaccines are very effective at preventing the worst case scenarios; hospitalization and death,” Dr. Fox says. “They’re not as good at reducing the risk of becoming infected, they reduce it somewhat.”

It’s also important for parents to remember that Covid goes beyond the classroom.

“People have to think about their spheres of contact and who might be at risk,” advises Dr. Fox. “Again, a mask for people with a high-risk exposure or a mask for people returning after an active infection I think is a small price to pay to try to keep other people from getting sick or getting their family members sick.”

Updated C.D.C. Covid guidelines: CDC streamlines COVID-19 guidance to help the public better protect themselves and understand their risk | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

Indiana Department of Health guidelines: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Public Resources (in.gov)

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