With thousands of students in isolation or quarantine, Hillsborough County Schools calls emergency board meeting


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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hillsborough County School Board is holding an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss curbing the spread of COVID-19 cases in schools after more than 1,000 students tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week in school.

Out of 213,491 students, 8,400 students are currently quarantined or in isolation. Out of 23,596 employees, 307 are quarantined or in isolation, the district said in its Tuesday update.

“There’s no way that there could not have been a series of outbreaks in schools if kids were going back in the midst of the delta variant surge without wearing masks,” said Dr. Juan Dumois, with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician, said the Delta variant is as contagious as the chicken pox, and while most children will recover from getting COVID, some will not.

“Some of the kids that have underlying medical conditions, like asthma, they may be a little more likely to end up in the hospital, but a lot of the kids that we’re seeing in the hospital were totally healthy to start with. It would have never been predicted that they would be one of the ones ending up in the hospital when they did,” the doctor said.

Other children can develop more severe complications like MISC (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children), which can cause heart inflammation. Often times, MISC patients spend months recovering, with many ending up in the intensive care unit.

Doctors are urging parents to advised their children to wear masks and schools, and to find masks that are comfortable for them.

In the meantime, the Hillsborough County School Board is scheduled to hold an Emergency School Board Meeting from 1 to 3:30 p.m. to discuss the latest impacts and the best way to mitigate the spread of the virus, “up to and including mandatory face coverings for all students and staff,” a notice from the district said.

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