Back to school with delta variant surging: Pediatrician, parent, and student weighs in

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The spread of the delta variant continues as kids are getting ready to return to school. Health officials are worried about a surge from germ-swapping.

“It will be very hard to cover everyone’s needs in our community and would hate to see a child have to be shipped elsewhere because regionally there’s just not a lot of extra space or resources,” said Dr. Amy Seery, Ascension Via Christi pediatrician.

Dr. Seery said while it may seem like we are returning back to normal, inside the hospital, it’s quite the opposite.

“We are very stressed. We have very little room to bring in adult and pediatric patients,” she said.

The delta variant bringing a bigger impact on children.

“I am seeing more and more adolescents who are coming in to the hospital with COVID that are having trouble breathing, that are having upset stomachs, and are having trouble eating and drinking,” Dr. Seery said. “In the clinic, I’m seeing more teenagers and middle schoolers who are having long-hauler symptoms. What I can tell you is none of them are vaccinated.”

For families like the Tonns, they are feeling good about returning back to school.

“I think if they do what they did last year, and they accept people’s recommendations, and those who care about the community,” said Deanene Tonn, mother of two USD 259 students. “Those who follow health and infectious illness, and I feel like they’ll do a good job this year, too.”

“I feel good about it, and I’m happy that they’re talking about masking up again indoors,” Toon continued.

Her daughter Loren Tonn is not thrilled about masking up but is ready to do so.

“I was kind of looking forward to no masks, but like, I understood it,” Loren, a Northwest Magnet High School sophomore said.

“It was something that was gonna help, not just us, but like our families and our grandparents and everybody else around us,” Loren added.

Ascension Via Christi is working to expand their space for children positive with COVID-19. However, Dr. Seery says even that will be limited. She is encouraging all Kansans to do their part to slow the spread.

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