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Mixed opinions among parents regarding new CDC school guidelines

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5 ways adults can boost kids' well-being -- and their own -- as schools return from break in a Covid surge

A trusted adult whom a child feels close to can help supplement a parent or caregiver's efforts to support their well-being.

Kids exposed to COVID can now stay in the classroom without getting tested.

It's one of the major changes the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made when updating their COVID guidelines.

There are some mixed opinions among parents on the new CDC guidelines.

While some parents are thankful that things are moving forward, and that they no longer have to miss work or try to find a last-minute babysitter for the quarantine period, others are concerned it may cause an outbreak.

"I don't know if we were able to know if somebody get in and bring it home for the rest of the family," Katherine Cowan said.

She has a health condition, so she's concerned about the impact the new CDC guidelines will have when she sees her grandkids.

"How are we gonna know if someone who gets sick in school? How badly it is, you know, I'm saying," Cowan asked.

A local nurse practitioner shares that same concern. Anne Marie Whitmer, who works at Central North Alabama Health Services, said she "absolutely" expects an uptick in cases.

"We've already started seeing an uptake. We expect it to continue," said Whitmer.

She recommends kids take the usual precautions, like wearing a mask, washing your hands and social distancing when indoors.

"We can still be normal. It's just a new normal, and it's being safe," Whitmer explained. "This is just something we have to be careful with. We just have to keep going, because it's not going away."

It's the precautions that some parents hope their kids follow.

"I can't control anybody else or stuff, but I want them to control them. You know, they know what to do. And hopefully that's, you know — I've just got hope, and that's all I can do," Cowan said.

Huntsville City Schools already updated their policy online, saying they will no longer require students to isolate or quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19. However, you may receive a letter from the state health department.

The CDC is also easing other COVID restrictions when it comes to quarantining, isolation and testing.

If exposed to the virus, you no longer need to quarantine, even if you are unvaccinated. That basically means no quarantine for anyone unless you have symptoms or test positive. The CDC is still recommending masking for up to 10 days and getting tested five days after being exposed.

If you do test positive, you still have to isolate for at least five days. When your symptoms are better and you are fever-free for 48 hours, you can leave isolation but should mask until Day 10.

However, the CDC now says you can ditch the mask if you test negative on Day 6 and Day 8.

Whitmer is concerned that people are not going to follow these new rules.

"Nothing says people are going to wear masks, you know, and that's kind of a little bit scary to me. Because these new variants that are out there, the BA.5 in particular, is extremely contagious. So how many people are going to get it?" Whitmer said.

Right now, more than 1 in 4 tests are coming back positive in the state.

The CDC says, while we are still in the pandemic, we are in a better place now with vaccines and treatments to ease these restrictions and move forward.

Whitmer hopes more people in Alabama get the COVID vaccine, especially now that the new Novavax vaccine is available. 

The state health department says Novavx uses "a more traditional protein-based technology, unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines which use mRNA technology."

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