A group of Nebraska doctors — all of them mothers and many with kids in school — say Gov. Pete Ricketts and school leaders should mandate masks if they want to keep kids in school this year and others safe.
Thirteen of them spoke with 3 News Now Investigator Aaron Sanderford about steps school and political leaders could take to reduce the risks of a coronavirus-fed return to at-home learning.
Ricketts and some school officials have said they want to keep masks optional for the state's K-12 students, despite the rise of the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
He and others have said families can decide for themselves what’s best for their children and that children face a lower risk of coronavirus complications than older, sicker Nebraskans.
The doctors say this version of coronavirus is different, that it is much more infectious than original COVID-19. They say they're seeing more school-aged children hospitalized locally. They don't want kids bringing the virus home from school, either.
The latest local stats show a quarter of new coronavirus cases in Douglas County involved children under the age of 19, the highest of any age group. Kids ages 5 to 9 are the biggest chunk of those cases.
“This virus, it changes,” said Dr. Christine Mitchell, who organized the interview with members of the group. “The pandemic changes, and we kind of have to change our policies with it.”
We decided to share the full conversation with the doctors at Omaha’s Lakeside Hills Park.