Pediatricians urging DeSoto County Schools to implement more COVID-19 safety protocols

HERNANDO, Miss. — A group of pediatricians is urging DeSoto County Schools to implement more safety protocols.

This comes as DeSoto County ranks third for the highest rate of cases in Mississippi.

Jessica Gartrell is a parent and doctor who said two of her children became sick with COVID-19.

She is asking for universal masking, regular COVID testing, and for the district to share more information about vaccines with parents.

“He had numerous days of a high fever up to 104 that I couldn’t break, and it was heartbreaking to watch it,” said Dr. Gartrell.

Two of Dr. Gartrell’s children became sick with COVID-19. One of them recently recovered.

All she wants is for DCS to implement a mask mandate, provide regular testing and offer more information to parents.

So she put it all in a letter, also signed by several other pediatricians who have children at DCS.

“They are still at high risk, and flu season is very quickly approaching, so that’s a very big concern for us as well,” said Dr. Gartrell.

FOX13 asked Superintendent Cory Uselton if he would consider a mask mandate, regular testing, and other demands from the parents.

“Even though our COVID case numbers have been declining over the last few weeks, we will definitely take that under consideration. We have reviewed the back-to-school plan periodically throughout the school year,” said Uselton. “I never rule out anything with COVID. In our return to learn plan, we stated early on masks will be optional and be a parent’s choice, and that’s where it is today, and we still continue to evaluate it.”

Still, parents like Gartrell will continue to fight for more safety protocols.

“I’m a pediatrician, but I’m also a parent, and I don’t want to force anything on parents and their children, so we would love to have a conversation, and we will continue to push for those convos,” said Gartrell.