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Doctor concerned about school children bringing COVID-19 home in upcoming year

She is recommending universal masking, despite the state not allowing schools to mandate masks in schools this upcoming year.

SAN ANTONIO — A local doctor worries that kids going back to school might bring COVID home.

One of the city’s top health experts is explaining how to keep everyone safe.

Junda Woo, Metro Health Medical Director says the healthcare system is stressed.

“Hospitals are full, the pediatric hospitals right now with this double whammy of RSV and COVID, they usually don’t have to deal with so much respiratory virus,” Woo said.

She says it’s important for those able to get the COVID-19 vaccine to get the shot.

The goal is family members “cocooning” their children.

“We do that for pertussis for example because a newborn baby can’t be, but the parents and grandparents can be, so people need to do the same thing here,” Woo said.

While the state of Texas won’t allow school districts to mandate masks—the CDC is recommending universal indoor masking regardless of vaccination status for all people ages 2 and up.

But for people 12 and up, who are eligible for the vaccine—she says it’s the best defense.

“The way things are right now, it is very likely if you send a kid to school, they will bring COVID back into your home and they’ll probably be fine,” Woo said.

“I know that thought causes a lot of anxiety, and the risk is not zero, but statistically, who we’re most worried about are the older adults in the home, so it’s extra important for all the people who are ages 12 and up to get vaccinated now,” Woo said.

Her concern lies with the older adults who might be in the home.

Woo says talk to a pediatrician and know your school’s plan before the year starts.

She adds strategies to protect your family from other infectious diseases – like regular hand washing – will also help.