More school districts to allow optional camouflage; the district pediatrician weighs

PORTSMOUTH, Virginia (Wavy) – After several months of mandatory camouflage, four school districts in Hampton Rose are repealing their policy of making masks optional.

Students from Hampton, Accomac County, Isle of Wight and York County will be able to wear masks in class from now on. They were already optional in Virginia BeachGloucester County and Chesapeake.

10 On Your Side spoke with the medical director of the Royal Daughters ’Children’s Hospital in Norfolk about changes in Virginia’s policies.

“Just because something isn’t mandatory doesn’t mean you can’t keep doing it,” said Dr. Doug Mitchell, medical director of CHKD Medical Group.

Mitchell oversees 20 pediatric practices in 31 locations across the region. He is also a pediatrician at Norfolk Pediatrics.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC continue to recommend, based on science and data, that masks do help prevent the spread, and vaccines do help prevent severe outcomes,” Mitchell explained.

Hospitals and medical centers continue to take the utmost precautions and encourage you to do the same.

“We are still seeing hospitalizations in pediatric patients,” Mitchell said.

He told 10 On Your Side that just a few weeks ago a medical team saw a 50% positive on COVID. Now with cases below 10% there is another danger: multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

Between October and now, Mitchell says the medical team has treated 45 children with complications after COVID that can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CHKD has treated 85 children.

For those who may fear Governor Glen Yangkin’s order, which provides for optional camouflage in schools – Mitchell says to remember the three Ws: wear, wait and wash.

“Maintaining more than one mitigation measure is the best way to move forward until we get a little better,” Mitchell said.

It also encourages children to be vaccinated and those aged 12 and over to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Norfolk, Newport News and Portsmouth have not yet made official announcements of additional camouflage.

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