LEE COUNTY — A week from Monday, thousands of students will be starting their first day of school in Lee County.
Many of them will be going back to class in-person, and on Monday, a panel of medical experts talked about what is being done to mitigate the risks, and what parents can do to help. The discussion was aired live on the school district's Facebook page.
“This is going to be a really big change for our community to have thousands and thousands of children going back to school," said Dr. Dana Crater, from Physicians Primary Care, who was a member of the panel.
We also spoke with one parent, Bethany Bauer, who has one child going back to school, and four more who will be learning virtually.
“By and large, I’m very happy with the options. You can choose to have your student go back in class, or a couple of different virtual options," said Bauer.
But a representative from Lee Health was honest about the risks if parents do choose to send their students back in-person. A risk Bauer says she accepts.
“We’re going to have periods of time where we’re going to have waves of increased patients into our health system related to COVID. We’re preparing for that wave as school starts back. We’re hoping it will be minimal, and not a tsunami," said Dr. Marybeth Saunders, a representative on the panel from Lee Health.
“Cases are going to go up. As kids are going back to school, there’s going to be spread. It’s inevitable. We have to be smart about it," said Bauer.
The panel was also clear about how parents can help fight the spread of COVID-19 in school.
“Don’t let your child come home from school and then get together with a large group of kids at someone’s house. Please try to be really careful, especially these first few weeks and months," said Dr. Crater.
For Bauer, this is going to be a school year like no other, but she’s optimistic.
“This is not the ideal situation for anybody, but we can do it," said Bauer.
The one thing all of the representatives on the panel agreed on was masks, saying wearing them inside the building was the best way to stop the spread.