Plan for big changes in opening schools, local health expert says

Virus Outbreak Turkey
Posted at 4:13 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 18:19:43-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - How and when should schools reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? That is the question parents, students and teachers want answered.

It is an issue that many school boards are grappling with right now.

Dr. Edward Oldfield, an infectious disease expert at Eastern Virginia Medical School, said there have to be big changes, including mandatory mask wearing.

"We're also going to need distance between the desks, we're going to probably not have to have school lunchrooms...have lunches at desks, going have to have students wear masks all day and have the teachers either wear a mask or face shield or both," he said.

Dr. Oldfield said there will definitely need to be fewer students on buses to practice social distancing, which may require a higher number of parents driving their children to school.

He added that there may need to be a mix of in-person and distance learning, but that the decision making should be driven by science.

He also addressed the spike in cases Hampton Roads is seeing.

Dr. Oldfield said it can be blamed on a number of things, including people not getting the message and holiday gatherings.

Related: Don't lower your guard in the fight against COVID-19, local expert warns

"July the Fourth, young people not paying attention to social distancing, people not masking. So, what we've seen is a real spike in cases and then, you know, young people tend to feel they're invincible and they like to party. So, my message would be just wear a mask and wear a mask whenever you're around people who are not part of your household."

Dr. Oldfield says he is encouraged to see a growing number of businesses requiring mask-wearing.

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