Gov. Reeves says risk of not going back to school greater than alternative

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 3:38 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is discussing the latest response to COVID-19 in the state.

Cases in the Magnolia State continue to spike, with more than 1,000 new cases reported again Friday.

Reeves says his safe return order, along with the restrictions for 13 counties, will likely be extended. Both orders expire Monday morning.

He said there are additional counties they are looking at, but are hesitant to issue any orders on: Forrest, Jones, Lamar, Panola, Bolivar, Sharkey, Tallahatchie, Humphreys, Simpson, Tate, Walthall and Covington.

With schools planning to reopen, Reeves said hand sanitizer, masks and other equipment is being sent to schools so they can safely reopen.

“If you need a mask, I guarantee you will get one,” he said.

Reeves is adamant that schools should reopen. He says the American Pediatric Society believes keeping students out of school could lead to a greater risk of death.

This quote from the American Academy of Pediatrics addresses that:

The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.

Reeves likened the risk of teachers and students going to school to the same risk one has when traveling in a vehicle.

“Every day there are automobile accidents,” he said.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said COVID-19 hospitalizations have stabilized and ICU numbers have gone up slightly.

“Every day we add a thousand new cases; statistically that’s 170 patients that will be in our hospitals in the next few weeks,” he said.

Dobbs said there was an instance where they couldn’t find a hospital bed for a patient in Mississippi or Louisiana, before finally finding one in Alabama for that person.

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