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Parents prepare for school as the COVID-19 variant continues to spread

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ZACHARY - Parents of school-aged children in Zachary are preparing for the first day of classes on Monday with COVID-19 on their minds.

"Obviously we're all concerned because COVID 19-is deadly," parent Tamecka Melton said.

Melton is the mother of a 12-year old 8th grader who attends Northwestern Middle School in Zachary.

The school will operate under strict COVID regulations this fall, with a mask mandate for all who are on campus and school buses, but Melton and her husband have taken the next step.

"We had a long conversation with our doctor. We did a lot of research, and we did decide to vaccinate him because he is 12," Melton said.

Last semester, the pandemic posed serious challenges for the family.

"Going back and forth between hybrid and being class times when they have to quarantine if they have been in close contact," father Robert Melton said.

"I missed out on my choir concert. It was just a lot to deal with," 12-year-old Tcyen Smith said.

But after a year of uncertainty, the 8th grader at Northwestern Middle can't wait for school to start.

"I'm looking forward to seeing my friends again and getting to know my new teachers, getting to do a show choir. All those things that I probably missed out on because of COVID," Smith said.

But even with all the measures in place, the Melton's say their child's safety will be in hands of the teachers and staff at his school.

"I truly believe the staff is dedicated to keeping the children safe and distanced as well as possible. And we all have to know the possibility is there, but we do the best that we can," Tamecka Melton said.

The school district will not know how effective their safety measures are until classes are underway.

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