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‘I want to do what’s best for them,’ State, medical leaders paint dire covid picture as masks now required in schools

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 10:24 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 11:16 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A new school year brings new opportunities and challenges.

“I think I would be remiss to say I’m not worried. I’m a mom. I worry, but I want to do what’s best for them and I know they want to be in school,” said Angelina Vicknair.

Angelina Vicknair with New Orleans Mom says her 10 and 7-year-old at times struggled through last school year especially when she says the whole family came down with covid, believing her 10-year old also fell ill.

“He had fever and congestion and he felt just awful and he was sleeping most of the day, very lethargic,” said Vicknair.

They’re due to start back to school next week which already required some masking, though, with a state-wide indoor mask mandate including all schools, Vicknair says she’s glad they’ve already had this conversation.

“We just discussed that it’s important to wear masks to keep ourselves safe other people safe…and I try to get them involved in picking their masks I found but that’s helped especially if you have younger children that might be a little more disagreeable to it,” said Vicknair.

“I can tell you at Children’s Hospital we’ve all been dreading the opening of schools, fearing this will be a catalyst for more and more cases more and more suffering and potentially more deaths,” said Dr. Mark Klein with Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

CONTINUING COVERAGE

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Children make up more than 2,000 of the new COVID-19 cases reported in Louisiana

Governor Edwards and medical leaders painted a fearful picture for the return of school without diligent mask-wearing. Less than 12 percent of children eligible are vaccinated saying masks will make a difference as young people and the delta variant are driving the fourth covid surge.

“It was also a myth that children, if they did get ill at all, would only get ill if they had some kind of underlying predisposing condition, but half of the children that we’re seeing were perfectly healthy children who have been infected with covid and then required admission to the hospital, or to the intensive care unit,” said Klein.

Klein says all pediatric beds in the state are full. He hopes families will do the right thing to prepare for the school year with a mask, and maybe a shot.

“Maybe by learning that their children are susceptible to suffer severe illness or even death. Maybe we can encourage more adults to do the right thing, the moral thing to take a vaccine to protect their children even if they aren’t concerned about protecting their own health,” said Klein.

“The majority of my immediate family is vaccinated so the people in my close circle we are, so that’s the best we can do is just be safe with the people I surround myself with,” said Vicknair.

Jefferson parish and St. Tammany parish school systems released statements saying the statewide mask mandate would be enforced in their school systems.

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