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Tarrant County parent keeps daughter home from school because of no mask mandate

The dream of her daughter starting kindergarten has been shattered.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Kids sick with COVID-19 are starting to fill up local hospitals, and some parents in Tarrant County are worried because there is no mask mandate. 

One Tarrant County mom decided to keep her daughter at home, even though she was just about to start kindergarten at Viridian Elementary School in Arlington.

“We bought the lunch box, the back pack,” explained Anne Miller. “I’m so close to be able to send her to school in this very big milestone year for her.”  

But, those dreams of her daughter starting kindergarten have been shattered.

Her fear: there is no mask mandate in Tarrant County. But just five miles away in Dallas County, masks are required in schools.

“We missed it by miles,” Miller said.

Miller, who is a student in nursing school, said she could send her daughter to school with a mask, "but that’s a very small prevention,” she said.

With COVID-19 cases on rise, driven by the delta variant, pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Nicolas Rister explained children are at high risk of getting COVID now. 

"They were sheltered during the prior peak,” he said.

It comes as hospital beds across North Texas fill up.

“When you walk into the ICU, they’re just full," Rister said. "It’s not always like that."

At Cook Children’s Hospital, the number of positive cases among children are on the rise - close to 30 children hospitalized daily. Meanwhile, President of the Dallas-Fort Worth Health Council Stephen Love said there were no longer any staffed pediatric ICU beds available anywhere in the North Texas Trauma Service Area E region.

Rister said the surge happened faster than expected, and they believe there will be another surge next month, with more kids going back to school. But, the doctor wanted to make it clear: kids generally recover a lot quicker. 

“The absolute risk to your child still stays low," Rister said. "I want people to feel comfortable to make these decisions."