Doctor shares concerns about COVID’s impact on upcoming school year

Harris County School District offering virtual learning for at risk students
Harris County School District offering virtual learning for at risk students
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 10:24 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Some students and staff in our area will return to the classroom in less than a month. Meanwhile, the state deals with low vaccination rates and increased concern about the Delta variant.

Medical experts caution schools could face another abnormal year as the start date for some schools is less than a month away.

“What we all want is for this upcoming school year to be normal - who doesn’t want that,” said Dr. David Kimberlin, Children’s of Alabama. “What we don’t know is if it will be normal. It’s not within our control.”

Dr. David Kimberlin of Children’s of Alabama cautioned the highly-contagious Delta variant and vaccination rates are key factors in planning.

The latest ADPH risk map shows five more counties are considered high risk for COVID-19 spread compared to last week and only around 30% of the state is considered fully vaccinated.

“The way to avoid that risk right now is to get vaccinated. If enough older adolescences get vaccinated,” said Dr. Kimberlin, “enough teachers and so forth - I think we have a chance of it not spinning out of control.”

Medical leaders recommend districts have a contingency plan for the start of the school year as we monitor cases over the next few weeks.

“Will likely be forced or tasked with making some unpopular decisions. Are we going to back to distancing? Are we going to go back to masking for those schools who have stepped away from it? I don’t know that that will be the case, but I think we need to be ready for it if we do,” said Dr. Kimberlin.

Medical leaders urged people not to wait until closer to the start of school to get your vaccine if you are eligible. You want to make sure you’ve finished your vaccination process two weeks before the first day of school so that you can have the highest COVID-19 protection.

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