LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – An alarming rise in the number of children getting sick with COVID-19 is prompting the Lee County School system to update its policy.
The school system is keeping masks optional for students. However, starting Wednesday, August 18, all close contact staff or students, anyone within 3 feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or longer, who are not fully vaccinated or not wearing a mask will be sent home and required to stay at home for ten whole days.
If a close contact student or staff is fully vaccinated or correctly wearing a mask, they will be allowed to remain at school but must monitor for the onset of symptoms. If symptoms arise, the person will be sent home with a recommendation to be seen by their healthcare provider.
Auburn and Opelika City Schools require masks for inside all school buildings and busses.
Meanwhile, the Pediatric Clinic shared alarming information on their social media pages Tuesday, stating they were sorry for significant delays answering phones and seeing patients due to a severe surge in the virus, saying the Delta variant has “hit our community with a force not previously seen.”
“Unfortunately, for each of the last two weeks, we have surpassed our previous record highs for positive Covid-19 cases. For the week ending 8/8, we were up 41%, and for the week ending 8/15, we were up 73% over our previous weekly case counts from January 2021. Simply put, we are unable to handle this demand in an efficient manner. We are hearing similar reports from other healthcare providers in our community. The stories we’ve all been seeing on the news in other states have become a reality here. Not surprisingly, we are seeing more exposures in the schools that don’t require masks,” said the Pediatric Clinic.
The practice’s pediatricians are urgently asking for the use of masks and socially distance to the fullest extent possible.
“There are also many Covid vaccination sites in our area for patients age 12 and up. Please consider vaccination if you haven’t received it,” posted the clinic.