Health officials and schools discuss mask importance

Keeping schools open with masks
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 4:57 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Health and school officials met to discuss the importance of wearing a mask during this COVID pandemic. Shannon Vanderheiden with West Central Health said over the last several months she has seen a community decline in individual ownership of activities such as liming gatherings, keeping social distancing and face masks.

“It is one of the most powerful and effective tools we have in slowing the spread of COVID-19, especially when we do it all together,” said Vanderheiden.

Dr. Brittan with Midlands Medical Group spoke on the importance of listening to science.

“The science is that it helps and we need to concern ourselves with science and not politics. And the science is that we should be doing it,” said Brittan.

Board Chairman at Great Plains Health, Dr. Mack, expressed the importance of wearing facial coverings and how easy it is to do to keep each other safe.

“When you walk into Gary’s, Walmart, or Menards without a mask or slip it off after we go inside, it does not fool this virus. When we wear our masks over our mouth and not our nose, it does not fool this virus. When we attend a large gathering but promise to stay home the rest of the week, it doesn’t fool this virus. Our strength during this crisis is crucial to our own lives as well as the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors,” said Mack.

Great Plains Health CEO, Mel McNea, asked the community to help overworked nurses by following social distancing and mask regulations.

“Our clinical staff and providers, like I said, are exhausted. We are closely monitoring our staff levels, our beds and our ventilators. But like I said beds and ventilators are not the issue right now. As a community we cannot afford to overwhelm this healthcare system,” said McNea.

North Platte Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Hanson, says they want to keep learning in person.

“Our primary objectives are to keep students and staff safe and our schools operating (with) in-person learning. We know the best place to provide educational, social and emotional support to our students is at school in person,” said Hanson.

The group emphasized the importance of us all working together as a community to prevent future spread.

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