Public Health Officials Urge St. Louis Families to Vaccinate School-Age Children

School districts throughout the St. Louis area are sending back-to-school letters this week outlining how health guidelines will change this year. Many describe a more relaxed environment than students had navigated in previous pandemic years.

In addition to these messages, some schools are encouraging students to get their families vaccinated against COVID-19. Local public health officials say now is the time to ensure children are protected from coronavirus and other illnesses.

This is the first school year to start for all ages eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Amanda Brzozowski, a senior epidemiologist at the St. Louis County Public Health Department, said that if immunizations were started now, it would be too late for students to be fully immunized before school started, but at this point they have some immunity. said to be important.

“You should get vaccinated,” said Brzozowski. “If you’re a little late, get it now. Start the process, especially if you may need multiple doses, like the COVID-19 vaccine.

So far, the total number of vaccinations for COVID-19 has been lower among younger age groups.

“If people are hesitant, if they’re on the fence, or if they need a little more knowledge, reach out and see a pediatrician or CDC website We might get some of the information you’re looking for,” Brzozowski said.

Most of the school districts in the area had optional mask policies earlier this year, and school leaders said they want more normal classes to start, a nonprofit working with many schools. Education Plus CEO Paul Ziegler said: Local school districts and charter schools.

“We know COVID is still present in our community. We know there are still some layers of mitigation within our schools.

One exception is the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, which sent a letter to families this week saying masks are required during the first two weeks of school due to high levels of community transmission in St. Louis County.

As of Thursday evening, in Illinois, CDC said Madison and St. Clair counties are at high risk of COVID-19. In Missouri, it is moderate in St. Louis and St. Louis counties and low in St. Charles counties. CDC Relaxed COVID-19 guidelines Speaking to schools on Thursday, it said students would not have to be tested to stay in class after being exposed to someone with the virus.

Schools are also doing away with other pandemic routines. The Parkway School District website will no longer have a COVID-19 dashboard reporting cases and positive rates in schools.of letter to familySuperintendent Keith Marty said masks are no longer required and building case thresholds will not be used to reinstate mask requirements.

“In response to COVID, we apply standard communicable disease policies,” Marty said. “This means treating COVID cases like any other infectious disease in schools.”

During the pandemic, public health officials said other vaccinations have declined.Seven mandated by the state to go to school. Her parent, Jenelle Leighton, clinical quality manager for the St. Louis County Public Health Department, said her parents should check with a pediatrician to ensure their child is properly getting the various vaccines they need. I’m here.

“Now is the time for everyone to realize that immunizations are so important and consider the immunization schedule and what it takes to get back to school,” Layton said.

Schools are also preparing for monkeypox response, but many cases are not recorded in the area. Educators are actively applying the skills learned during the pandemic, Ziegler said.

“We are now able to make decisions about how to deal with infectious diseases faster than we could three years ago,” he said. “While the pandemic does not bode well, our understanding and ability to deal with it are vastly different.”

St. Louis Public Schools will soon be releasing monkeypox information and other health information for families. The district will be publishing monkeypox information on its COVID-19 dashboard and, as usual, will ask families not to send their children to school if they are sick.

Nationwide, the virus is mainly spread through close contact between adults. However, monkeypox is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact or by contact with clothing or bedding used by an infected person, so it can infect anyone.

“I think schools need to be careful when they have incidents with their students so that those incidents are not stigmatized,” said Brzozowski. “We need to protect the identity of our patients and ensure that there is no stigma such as contracting monkeypox.”

Saint Louis County distribution coordination A limited number of monkeypox vaccines are available in this area.

Follow Kate on Twitter. @KGrumke

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