Students headed back to school this week and some parents are concerned


AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- The United States reported more than 1 million new cases of Covid-19 on Monday. This week students are returning to school after holiday break.

Some parents are concerned schools could be shut down over the spread; other parents are concerned they won’t be.

NewsChannel 6 talked to officials with Aiken, Richmond and Columbia County school districts, who all said precautions are being taken. They claim they are monitoring the spread and have policies in place should the number of cases in the district skyrocket. They also said they have cleaning regiments in place to help fight the virus. One parent isn’t sure it’s enough.

“I think it’s a matter of time before we go back to distance learning. Or we’re just going to have a whole bunch of kids who are going to be out for, I guess 7 days, is the new recommended quarantine time. And that’s going to take a toll as well,” said Stephanie Dupont, an Aiken County Schools parent.

Lynthia Ross is the Chief Public relations Officer for Richmond County Schools. She said they are doing everything they can to keep students and staff safe.

“That’s something that’s been taken seriously by the board members and the school system administration and we continue to do that daily and monitor what’s happening in the schools daily,” Ross explained.

So, with kids returning to school after the break, are hospitals concerned about a bigger wave?

Yes and no.

We spoke with Dr. Jose Vasquez, Chief of Infectious diseases at AU Health. He told us that he expects to see cases continue to rise at least over the next few weeks.

He explains that numbers will go up as kids spend time in the classroom, but it’s to be expected.

He also said the omicron variant is very mild and that a lot of the reason for the burden on health care systems, emergency rooms especially, is people using them as testing sites. He urges people not to do that saying it’s irresponsible.

He assured parents that it’s okay to send their kids back to school despite the rise in positive cases.

“I think it’s very important for the kids to go back to school. It really is. Because, I think of all the people, kids have suffered, and the kids that have suffered the most are the ones that are in poorest communities. And those are the ones that have really really fallen back as far as reading and writing and socializing and everything,” said Dr. Vasquez.

Richmond County schools are currently requiring masks while Aiken and Columbia Counties are only recommending them.

Warren County and McDuffie County have both delayed back to school for a week.

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