Greene County medical experts continue to endorse masking in schools, again backing advice from national health groups after the Missouri attorney general ordered districts to drop their warrants last week.
The Greene County Medical Society, in a statement on Monday, said it was “fully in favor” of recommendations for universal masking inside schools, regardless of vaccination status. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican candidate for the US Senate, sent letters to Missouri school districts last week ordering them to repeal their masking policies and other public health orders in light of a recent Justice decision.
“We wanted to reiterate that the science has not changed,” said Dr Minh-Thu Le, president-elect of the Greene County Medical Society. “It just doesn’t make sense to change the policy when the science really hasn’t changed at all. And COVID is still here.”
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The and the rest of the company’s executives called an emergency meeting on Sunday night and voted unanimously to reaffirm those guidelines, which they originally issued last summer when the Delta variant was in full swing and the students were starting to return to class. Hearing the news last week “kind of put an arrow in all of our hearts,” Le said.
The organization also urges schools to “monitor community transmission, immunization coverage, testing and the appearance of epidemics” while making policy decisions. His statement was supported by the Missouri State Medical Association.
Public schools in Springfield, the state’s largest district, refused to follow Schmitt’s order last week and will maintain their mask tenure until January. Other districts have voted to drop their terms in recent days, including Columbia Public Schools, as cold and flu season kicks off.
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“Cases are increasing, hospitalizations are increasing,” said Dr. Jim Blaine, an advisor to the Greene County Medical Society. “Things are not going in the right direction.
“This decision does not appear to be based on science,” he said of Schmitt’s order.
Members of society also expressed concern over letters the attorney general sent to local health departments, which saw their authority significantly weakened by the Cole County court ruling, and several of which halted COVID operations altogether. -19. Laclede and McDonald counties in southwest Missouri, along with a number of other departments, have suspended quarantine orders, contact tracing and other work.
Jackson and St. Louis counties asked to intervene in Cole County’s decision on Monday, arguing that “chaos now reigns in the state over the administration of public health.”
COVID-19 in Missouri:Local health departments suspend all virus work after court ruling, letter AG
This is of concern not only for those counties but also for Springfield, Le said – as many COVID-19 patients entering local hospitals do not come from the city proper but from neighboring areas. Springfield “is going to have to step up and be on top of our public health,” she said.
“Whatever happens in politics, in religion, on our social media, it doesn’t matter,” Le said. “We always want to be on top of medical and scientific studies and good evidence-based medicine.”