Health Response Team lays out plans for school year, COVID-19

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - While the discussion of the delta variant is evolving, schools continue to prepare for the start of a new year.

The Coastal Health District will work side-by-side with eight county school systems as they operate through the pandemic.

We learned a lot about COVID in schools last year, but health leaders say comparing that to what could happen in a classroom this year is hard because of the impact of the highly infectious delta variant.

“We were fortunate last year that transmission from kids infected at school to home to their families did not really seem to occur all that often we don’t know what’s going to happen with this one because it’s just a different animal. We don’t have the experience with it yet in a school setting,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Director of the Coastal Health District.

The Coastal Health District says a key part of helping schools get through the pandemic is their school response team.

“We are true partners in trying to keep COVID-19 out of the schools and making a very safe and healthy environment for our children to learn,” said Cristina Gibson, Chronic Disease Prevention Director for the Coastal Health District.

The team provides individualized guidance to area schools and helps contact trace cases separately to minimize the impact.

“No delays in getting to those cases cause we know that’s very important to keep school going,” said Gibson.

As health leaders are preparing for students to return to the classroom they say parents too should be proactive.

“I think parents should be cautious they should encourage their kids to comply with the multiple mitigation strategies that will be used and if their kids are eligible for a vaccine they should take them and get them vaccinated,” said Dr. Davis.

Leaders of the school response team say students and staff who are vaccinated will have different guidance if exposed to someone who tests positive.. Ultimately they are hopeful their work to mitigate cases will lead to a successful start to school.

“I feel encouraged that we have systems in place. I just, I’m really you know counting on the cooperation of family, school families, school districts to do the right thing and to keep covid-19 away from the schools,” said Gibson.

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