OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A group of Nebraska doctors who are also moms is urging schools to consider requiring masks this fall as the number of virus cases surges across the state.
The group has about 700 members statewide who work in a variety of different medical specialties, said Dr. Christine Mitchell, an Omaha-area internal medicine specialist who is involved in the effort.
“This virus changes. The pandemic changes. And we have to change our policies with it,” she said. “Now it’s time that we make the restrictions again, put the masks on and see if we can keep school going all year, just like we did last year.”
Nebraska virus cases have been increasing for six straight weeks as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus continues to spread.
Over the past two weeks, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has more than doubled in Nebraska going from 139.71 cases per day on July 24 to 374.14 new cases per day on Saturday.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has said he believes schools should not require masks or vaccinations this school year despite recent recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics that say all students and staff wear masks in school, even if they are vaccinated.
Several school districts in the state — including the Lincoln, Ralston and Westside school districts — have said they will require elementary students and staff to wear masks because most of those students are too young to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Many other school districts are still evaluating their plans.