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Not all parents, doctors comfortable with kids heading back to school amid rising cases

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 8:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Jackson Public School District started their year Monday, and one JPS parent said her nerves are already on overload.

“I am filled with anxiety and nervousness about what’s going to happen,” Kameka McGruder said.

Her kids’ first day back in the classroom falls on the same day that the Mississippi Department of Health reported nearly 7,000 new cases from over the weekend alone.

McGruder said their school requires masks, but she isn’t confident that young kids are going to wear them properly.

“We’re talking about 10-year-olds,” she said. “They’re not going to always do what you tell them to do.”

More than anything, McGruder said she’s upset that JPS didn’t provide parents with virtual learning options.

Amite, Franklin, and Madison Counties all went back to school Monday as well. None of them are offering remote learning either, unless the student has documented health conditions.

“We can’t vaccinate, and there’s nothing that I can do to protect them,” McGruder said. “They say, ‘Vaccinate yourself to make sure that you can protect yourself against getting too sick with the virus.’ But I have to send my children to school, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Dr. Laura Miller said young kids going back to school who are not eligible for the vaccine concerns her too.

“That’s a huge population that’s unprotected,” Dr. Miller said. “We have a very low vaccination rate for our children [who are] 12 to 17 as well. And then, of course, many of our teachers and staff members have not yet been vaccinated or have chosen not to be vaccinated. So our schools are basically pools of contagion right now.”

She said the easiest way to prevent spreading the virus is for students to mask-up.

“It’s not perfect. Nobody will testify that it is,” she said. “But an appropriate, fitted mask is certainly helpful.”

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