DALLAS – Doctors say the spread of the delta variant COVID-19 is increasing the number of pediatric hospitals. It’s something school administrators also observe.
All North Texas superintendents say their districts continue to face huge challenges.
Many teachers choose to retire early due to the pandemic. Students continue to face learning losses. Many are hospitalized with COVID-19.
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The latest UT Southwestern report shows that pediatric hospitalizations for COVID have doubled since January.
Tuesday, during a virtual chat organized by the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce.
Superintendents described the long-term concerns of public education in the pandemic.
Branch leaders Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Coppell and Irving ISDs shed light on these challenges.
“This is not going to go away in the 21-22 school year. We have a lot of work ahead of us,” CFBISD Superintendent John Chapman said.
They are all concerned about teacher exhaustion.
“A lot of our teachers have said they’re April tired, May tired and it’s just September,” said Brad Hunt, Coppell ISD superintendent.
Administrators are also concerned about the growing learning gap.
The Texas Education Agency estimates that children have lost about three months of learning.
“It will take us a while to get back on track,” said Magda Hernandez, Irving ISD superintendent.
Coppell and Carrollton-Farmers Branch offer e-learning for certain students, at least for now.
State lawmakers have recently approved funding for virtual classes to a limited extent.
“Again, it was because my son can’t get a vaccine right now, so we understood that,” Chapman said.
The latest forecast from COVID in the southwestern UT finds that admissions to pediatric hospitals continue to rise rapidly. It is probably the impact of the return to face-to-face learning and of some students who are too young or unable to be vaccinated.
“Our emergencies that right now have been overwhelmed by the number of children who are sick right now,” Seth Kaplan told the Texas Pediatric Society.
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Rapid growth is still observed in the 0-17 age group, with large increases in pediatric admissions in Dallas and Collin counties.
And in Tarrant County, pediatric hospitals suffered another pandemic this week.
“We’re seeing the exact same things in our offices,” Dr. Kaplan. “Our offices have been the busiest for more than a decade with sick children.”
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The report indicates that only the pediatric age group is still experiencing strong new revenue growth.
“We are beginning to see a decrease in hospitalization rates and positivity rates among adults,” Dr. Kaplan. “So we hope this wave is about to culminate and go down a bit.”
Dr. Kaplan says approving the COVID vaccine for children under 12 will be a real game changer. This could happen later this year.
He says that for now we can do everything possible to prevent infections by continuing to practice all those safety practices such as masking and distancing.
NIH says RSV cases increase as COVID-19 restrictions are reduced