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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Back to school recommendations during COVID

Dr. Veita Bland / September 10, 2021

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Students at Bessemer Elementary are trying to follow the CDC recommendation of universal masking of all students, teachers, staff, visitors or anybody who is in contact in anyway with people in school.
Photo by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.

Well, they tell me summer is now over and we are on our way to enjoying cooler weather and preparing for the winter months. I certainly welcome the anticipated more comfortable weather that is to come but my heart sinks as I also consider what I fear will return.

With still so many people still unvaccinated and the surge we are seeing in the Delta variant of COVID-19 there is much for us to consider.

More students are now returning to the classroom. Think of the nightmare that these education administrators must be facing as they try to prepare for their students, faculty and support personnel. How are they doing this? There are recommendations from the experts at CDC and from pediatricians. Let’s look at their latest recommendations.

There is no doubt that in-person learning is the best for students but we are in a worsening pandemic with so many kids, who are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. So, what are the recommendations for these kids?

As of August 4, the CDC recommends universal masking for all students, teachers, staff, visitors or anybody who is in contact in anyway with people in school. This recommendation is made regardless of whether a person is or is not vaccinated. Though masking seems to be revered and reviled, it is a long-known way of protecting anyone from viruses and has been a staple in preventing COVID-19 spread worldwide.

The second update is that even fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to COVID-19, suspect, or have a confirmed case should be tested in 3-5 days. These updates are on top of the recommendation that three feet of distancing be implemented between students.

In addition to the preventive measure of testing, schools need to check the ventilation of school classrooms and buildings. The air must be clean. Respiratory etiquette must be practiced by everyone (Eg. keep the mask on, mold it firmly to the shape of your nose, make sure it is securely under your chin and make sure there are no leaks of air coming out). Remember, not all masks are equal. It is also important to provide masks with multiple layers for your children that fit their smaller faces properly.

Keep your child or yourself home if you are ill. Seek medical advice. Although no one wants this to happen, we should expect quarantines and isolations to occur.

To say this will be a difficult school year is an understatement. Take the time to thank your teachers, support personnel and administrators for the yeoman’s work they are doing to teach our children under these difficult circumstances.

Let us all do our part to defeat COVID-19 and its variants by masking, getting vaccinated, respecting space between people, staying home when ill and practicing self-care. Our lives depend on it.


Dr. Veita Bland is aboard-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s ra-dio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr.Bland at ideas@blandclinicpa.com.




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