Doctors, parents concerned as school begins in Mobile amid COVID-19 surge

Mobile County

MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County students returned to the classroom Wednesday amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the county.

Doctors and parents have some concerns, but also want their children to have social interactions again.

“Has to be the strangest first day of school – ever,” said Lisa Dixon, a mother of an MCPSS student.

As Dixon woke up her 5th grader Wednesday morning and she was apprehensive about actually sending her to school.

“With everything they’ve said about how it affects kids. Of course, I’m worried about it coming home,” she said.

We first spoke with Dixon two weeks ago, before Mobile County Public Schools reinstated the mask mandate for students. The school system says they consulted local doctors, and their goal is to keep kids in school as long as possible.

“If something happens to my baby girl… I have two other kids too if something happens to any of them. I don’t know what in the world I would do,” said Dixon.

Local pediatricians share that concern.

“It has me really apprehensive and nervous because the cases have not really let up, as we’ve seen with the influx and flooding of kids and adults to our hospitals in Mobile County,” said Dr. Nina Ford-Johnson, a pediatrician and the president of the Medical Society of Mobile County.

More and more children are getting sick from the virus, some seriously. USA Children and Women’s currently has four pediatric children on ventilators.

“It’s difficult because as a pediatrician these kids need social interaction,” said Dr. Ford-Johnson. “I have that tug where I want my children to be safe, but also have that social interaction at school, which is very needed. But also, I don’t want them to have COVID as well.”

Dixon hopes for a smooth school year.

“I just hope it’s not a life or death choice,” said Dixon.

Doctors are encouraging parents and children to be flexible, wear their masks, wash their hands, stay socially distanced when possible, and get the vaccine if they’re eligible.

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