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Virginia professor shares tips to start the school year as COVID-19 concerns rise

Posted at 7:29 AM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 08:15:19-04

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. - Children and young adults start the school year in less than a month, and if you are a parent who is nervous about sending your children back to school as the pandemic continues, a Virginia Tech professor is offering suggestions and tips.

Linsey Marr is a civil and environmental engineer at Virginia Tech. She is also a renowned expert on viral transmission and a mother. She is asking the same questions you are probably asking yourself when it comes to safety and precautions.

She compiled a list of questions and answers on some concerns she has had.

She started with precautions on things a school can control. Such things include having HEPA air units in the classroom, plexiglass barriers, or if they do certain activities like lunch outdoors.

Marr also says parents should be asking the school questions like, -- what have school officials been doing to improve ventilation and if staff is vaccinated?

As for the parents, Marr said parents should consider what they can do to keep their children safe. That can include wearing tight-fitting cloth masks with a filter layer for surgical mask materials or a HEPA filter in the middle.

Marr suggested teaching your child that it is very important to wear the mask at all times and to make sure it fits properly with the exception being when eating.

The last week parents saw turbulence over this subject as school districts across Virginia voted on whether or not to require face coverings inside school buildings for this upcoming school year. Then, Gov. Northam announced an order saying masks were required for all K-12 schools.

Marr said she recommends it, having been skeptical.

Marr added if the child's family is vaccinated then there is a low risk the child could get infected. However, she explained, the risk is higher if the family is not vaccinated. There is still no approved COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12.

Overall, Marr said children have a lower risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to other age groups.

The full Q&A with Prof. Linsey Marr can be found here.

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