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Leon County parents concerned over rising omicron cases, await LCS return plans

Posted at 8:14 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 20:14:26-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The classrooms may look a bit empty this week. That's because parents like Sarah Sprayberry say they're just not comfortable sending their kids back right now.

"I absolutely am not sending my middle schooler back this week. He's going to stay home this week," said Sprayberry.

Sprayberry says sending her kids to school amid a rise in pediatric COVID cases isn't a gamble she wants to take.

"I'm trying to kind of generate sort of an attendance sit out for that first few days until we see some action taken by the district to communicate to us that they're really taking this seriously because so far I haven't heard of anything," she said.

Leon County Schools plans to announce changes Tuesday; one day before students return from winter break.

It's not likely students will return to rules as strict as the beginning of the year. That's because, under state law, mask mandates are prohibited.

"I have the expectation that the district can meet us halfway in terms of providing readily available and easily accessible testing opportunities, promoting masks."

Sprayberry also wants to see the return of a popular LCS tool.

"They were going to discontinue the case reporting COVID dashboard as of December 17. So that's something they could do to keep parents informed that isn't prohibited by law, and I wish they would re-implement that just so that parents feel like they have an idea of what's going on in terms of how bad cases are."

More testing, masks, and vaccines for kids are a push coming from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

President Dr. Lee Savio Beers says Omicron is a concern when it comes to kids.

"This is quite a contagious variant. We are seeing many more being infected which means many more being admitted to the hospital," said Dr. Lee Savio Beers.

Currently, the US is seeing more pediatric COVID hospitalizations than ever.

The CDC says the country ended 2021 with an average of 378 admissions a day; 66% higher than a week before.

"Right now, it's undeniable that there is a profound surge in cases they're kind of exploding locally so that's relevant to us," said Sprayberry.