Doctors worry about COVID-19 impacting schools

Health officials believe the return of kids in the classroom could lead to outbreaks.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:40 PM CDT
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Bill Ady says this school year marks a new chapter for students in Belvidere, despite struggles the district had meeting staffing needs.

“We’re all just kind of crossing our fingers, nobody wants to go back to the way things were,” said Ady. “It really is an all hands on deck approach.”

But some health officials believe the return of kids in the classroom could lead to the return of outbreaks in schools, which could take away teachers at a time when they can’t afford to.

“Teachers come back to the classroom and no one is masked,” said UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof. “Although they won’t get super ill from COVID, they could come down with it.”

Pothof says this is a cause for concern in schools because kids have a lower vaccination rate, making it that much easier to catch and spread the virus. One positive case could lead to a domino effect.

“If that happens across a large number of teachers in a school district, you may find it difficult to keep school open,” said Pothof.

Pothof says that’s why some districts may consider masking up. In District 100, Ady says masks are still optional, but the district will be taking precautions like social distancing.

“We know that as bad as it did get we were able to work through it,” said Ady.

Ady says regardless of the amount of staff they have on hand, they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure students are safe and healthy. His team meets with the Boone County Health Department weekly to make sure the district is up to date on all the preventative measures.

“Our kids need it, our staff needs it,” said Ady. “We all need to feel connected.”

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