Back to school or not? Parents voice concerns about children’s return to the classrooms

Updated: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:48 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Cherish Anne Latting of Roxie has six children, and five are school age.

“They are spread out over four schools, so the probability to me of at least one of them getting sick – and their ages range from eight to 15,” Latting said. “It seems more probable that at least one of them is going to end up sick, and then what do we do, because we’re such a big household?”

Ariel Gordon, who has similar concerns, came to Ridgeland today from her hometown of Columbus. She was picking up her children’s birth certificates.

“So they can go to school. Because if they don’t go to school, I get in trouble for not sending them to school,” Gordon said. “And if I send theme to school and they get sick, I still get in trouble and I have to get tested and then everybody around me gets tested and we’re stuck at home. I’ve gotta work, I do two jobs.”

Other parents are ready to get the kids out the door and get life back to normal. However, more counties have recently been declared as hot spots based on the threshold set by state health experts.

With schools like Brandon High School set to start next week, state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says that may not be a good idea.

Dobbs said in a Facebook live on Friday that some schools' Covid plans were not planned out well.

“And a lot of them just say ‘traditional school,’ believe it or not. ‘We’re just going back to school,‘” Dobbs said. “Which to me is totally unacceptable. It’s crazy.”

It’s not just the situation inside the walls of the schools, but what could happen if the pandemic numbers spike, he said.

“I mean it’s just a bad time. It’s hard to imagine putting thousands—half a million kids into school buildings all of a sudden at the peak of the pandemic when the hospitals are already full? It’s just hard for me to feel comfortable,” he said.

Dr. Dobbs admits that he has previously said it would be fine to go back to school in August, but he says looking at the trends now, it could be incredibly dangerous. Throughout the evolution of the pandemic, doctors have been clear that it’s a fluid situation.

Around 9 p.m. Monday, Governor Tate Reeves tweeted about the subject, saying he will issue an executive order regarding schools on Tuesday.

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