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Students head back to school after winter break amid another COVID surge

Thousands of students across Oregon and Southwest Washington headed back to class after a two-week holiday break in the middle of a new COVID-19 surge.
Updated: Jan. 3, 2022 at 6:22 AM PST
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KEIZER, Ore. (KPTV) - Most kids in Oregon are heading back to school after the holiday break and COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Parents shared with FOX 12 how they’re feeling about sending their students back and most say they felt comfortable sending their kids back to the classroom.

“Compared to where we’ve been I’m definitely not as nervous sending her back tomorrow as I was at the beginning of the year,” Nicki Marazzani, whose daughter is in eighth grade in the Salem Keizer School District, said. Her daughter is vaccinated and she said she is more at ease knowing she is protected.

“If we’re confident enough they can take care of our kids enough to send every day then we have to be confident enough to send them during trying times too,” she said. Anndrea Dussault has two kids who are in school in the Gresham Barlow School District. She said she’s confident in the district’s ability to keep her kids safe.

“We already knew that there was going to be variants and we knew that this was going to happen so this is something that anybody that sent their kids to school this year knew that this was a possibility and there’s going to be parents out there that are fearful and I’m not one of them,” Dussault said.

Dr. Eliza Hayes Bakken is a pediatrician from OHSU and said one of the most important things parents can do before sending their kids back is to talk to them about the current surge.

“Just sharing with your kids that there’s still COVID out there and that the strain that’s going around right now seems to be more contagious so you know really reinforcing with our kids that this is the time to follow those protocols,” Hayes Bakken said. She said now may also be the time to reconsider what type of mask your child is wearing.

“This is the time when thinking about if we’ve got our kids in more flimsy kind of lighter weight cloth masks if we have access to surgical masks or masks with filters or KN95′s for our kids, sending them back with those kinds of masks, just in general we need to be upping our mask game up a little bit,” she said. Bakken said if your child is showing symptoms or is exposed, make sure to get them tested.

“The good news is that there’s some time and it’s best to get tested after exposure after a few days so make that next appointment that you see available online on one of the testing sites, call your pediatrician or your child’s medical home and see what they have,” she said.