Dr. Holmes Overstates Deaths Among Central’s School Staff

During a debate on whether students in Central schools should be required to wear masks eight hours a day, Central School Board member Dr. Keith Holmes told his fellow board members that 4 percent of the members of Central’s school staff had died because of COVID. He said the main purpose of masks was to protect teachers, not students. However, his numbers were wrong. Only 4/10ths of 1 percent of the Central staff died because of COVID, or about the national average.

During a public hearing before the Central School Board’s Human Resources Committee, Dr. Holmes told fellow board members, 

“I’m not overly concerned about the students. I know everybody’s worried about the students, but the ones we’re really protecting are those teachers. They’re important for our school system too. And we have the burden of responsibility to protect them, as well as the students. And we’ve had two teachers die from COVID in the last 12 months. Now, is that a lot? Well, out of 500, that’s already 4 percent.”

However, the actual percentage was .4 percent, or 1/10th of what Dr. Holmes told the board. In an interview with the Central City News, Dr. Holmes acknowledged the mistake and that the number was in line with the national average of all adults. Dr. Holmes was correct that students have not been greatly affected by COVID.  Since the pandemic began in March 2020, only 10 people under 18 have died in the State of Louisiana with COVID and all 10 of those had serious comorbidities.

However, the question remains, If students are not affected by COVID and if COVID has been no greater threat to the adults working in the school system than adults working anywhere else, why are students being required to mask eight hours a day?

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