Physician speaks on keeping teachers safe against COVID-19

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – While the tragic passing of Demi Bannister, a Richland County District 2 teacher, was prior to schools commencing with students present, a question has surfaced with children now in the mix—how can we keep our teachers safe?

Dr. Valerie Scott with Roper St. Francis said the biggest thing we can do for our teachers, and they can do for themselves is to continue being vigilant. She said she often sees even those in the healthcare system letting their guard down with one another.

They are getting them from their coworkers in the break room because they take their mask off. And they think of them as, ‘oh they’re safe’. No, they are not safe–you don’t know where they’ve been. So I think as the teachers go back to school, when they go and they have a minute off or whatever–they have to remember that you can’t take your mask off around your teacher friends either, or your colleagues because they could put you in just as much risk as the kids. 

Dr. Valerie Scott, Roper St. Francis

As for the type of mask—Dr. Scott said you need one that fits your face in a tight seal. She recommends her patients that are teachers with underlying health concerns to get an N-95 from a hardware store. However, she said to make sure that it is without the side vents, as those could let your fluids out.

Even the hardware store N-95s, according to Dr. Scott, are a better kind of mask for blocking not only germs from you but also germs from others. 

If you are unable to obtain an N-95, she said a double cloth layered mask will also work well as long as it is fitted to your face. Even a step further, for those who are more interactive teachers or works with younger children, Dr. Scott recommends a face shield on top of the mask .

While the decision to head back to classrooms as a whole is understandable to Dr. Scott, more can be done in terms of in-person teacher days or faculty meetings.  

It’s difficult because there’s no doubt children learn better in the classrooms. So I understand why they’re going back in there, but, the other situations that they have another way they could do it—it might be better. 

Dr. Valerie Scott, Roper St. Francis

Another way to assist teachers during this time is to ensure that all have the flu shot.

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