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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Play it safe as new school year begins

Although the covid-19 pandemic feels like it’s over to many area residents, as shops, restaurants, offices and other indoor venues seem to be overwhelmingly populated by maskless individuals, this scourge isn’t finished with us yet — not by a long shot.

As much as we want it to be done and gone, the coronavirus continues to evolve and survive, and while this area doesn’t come close to experiencing the travails being visited upon communities in the deep south, the numbers of local cases and hospitalizations have been going up, according to the CDC.

As of this past Sunday, again according to CDC data, Worcester saw eight new hospital admissions and a continuing rise in the number of hospital beds occupied by covid-19 patients. This follows a relatively uneventful June and July that created the impression that we were on the way to being free and clear of the pandemic.

But no, and now as the county’s schools, public and private, prepare to resume classroom instruction in a week or so, this resurgence of the disease is something parents of school-age children need to keep in mind.

The schools locally did a remarkable job of providing instruction last year under extreme circumstances, and the safety protocols they have in place for this year’s reopening certainly reduce the risk of student exposure to the virus.

They do not, however, eliminate it, which is why parents should strongly consider having their children vaccinated if they are in the age brackets deemed eligible. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA for use by all individuals 16 years of age and older, and has been given emergency use authorization for children from 12 to 15 years of age.

And masks? The schools won’t be requiring students to wear them as schools open, but are leaving that decision up to the parents. Looking down  south where thousands of children have been sent home because of exposure to covid-19, this is something parents here might want to think about as well.