State health, education leaders urge COVID vaccinations, masks as start of school approaches | KAALTV.com

State health, education leaders urge COVID vaccinations, masks as start of school approaches

Jessica Miles
Updated: August 04, 2021 06:44 PM
Created: August 04, 2021 05:28 PM

With fear over the COVID-19 delta variant rising, there are renewed concerns over sending kids back to classrooms this fall.

Nathan, 17, will start his senior year at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul in a matter of weeks. He spent the entire last school year learning virtually and said he doesn't want to do that again.

"It was harder than usual because I wasn't used to it," he said.

That's why he's getting his COVID-19 vaccine.

"It was good to get vaccinated just in case, so I don't catch it, but it just felt pretty normal," Nathan added.

Mayo Clinic doctors say we are going to continue to have variant strains of COVID-19 emerge as long as we have unvaccinated people.

"This is a different virus than a year ago," said Dr. Gregory Poland, the director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group.

He says delta variant symptoms are the same as what we've been told: fever, headache and nausea.

Poland says using preventative measures like hand-washing, social distancing and mask-wearing in schools will once again be necessary.

"We are going to see low rates in schools that use masks, and schools that do not use masks, higher rates," Dr. Poland said.

As families and students lined up to get their vaccinations in St. Paul, education and health leaders pleaded with the public to also catch up on the doses children may have missed over the last year.

"If your child needs immunizations before school this fall, to avoid the last-minute rush. Contact your health care provider and schedule a visit," Ramsey County Director of Public Health Sara Hollie said.

Fourth-grade teacher Qorsho Hassan, who is also the Minnesota teacher of the year, says she's planning to be in the classroom with her students, saying it's essential for their learning.

"I know that for me the best way to reach my little learners is to see them in person and we want those who are eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine," Hassan said.

A total of 140 vaccination events have either been held or will be held as we near the start of school in just five weeks.


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