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COVID-19 spread in Wichita schools encouraged some students to get vaccine

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 7:27 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - This week, the Wichita school board unanimously voted to require masks for all staff and students, starting Monday, Aug. 30. The move comes as COVID-19 cases in teens surge across the country.

On Thursday, Aug. 26, Eyewitness News spoke with students at Wichita North High School, some who say in the first weeks of school, they decided to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because of a local spread. They said they hope their classmates will do the same. As of Monday, Aug. 23, Wichita Public Schools reported 50 staff members and 195 students testing positive for COVID-19.

“I feel like (vaccines) are a good way to stop the spread of COVID and a lot more people should stop worrying about their symptoms,” Wichita North High School student Keylen Andrad said.

Fellow North High student Lisa Tchordan said the current situation changed her decision with regard to getting vaccinated.

“At first it was a ‘no,’ but then I was like, ‘I am going to protect myself and my family and just get it,’” she said.

As of Thursday in Sedgwick County, there are about 4,500 COVID-19 cases among 10-to-17-year-olds and about 7,600 among 18-to-24-year-olds.

Nationwide, the CDC says teens aged 16 and 17 are facing the highest rate of weekly cases of all age groups, in part because they have the lowest vaccination rates of those eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is a concern because there are a lot of kids in schools and it’s easy to spread,” Andrad said.

In the last week, the Wichita school district partnered with the Sedgwick County Health Department to host six vaccine clinics at the district’s high schools. The district said an average of about 56 people showed up to each of those clinics which were also open to the public.

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