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East Texas schools temporarily close amid omicron outbreak

A Longview pediatrician says symptoms in adults are showing up similar in children.

TYLER, Texas — More students and staff are testing positive for Covid-19 in East Texas, resulting in school closures all across the area.

CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Pediatrician, Tiffany Turner, MD says symptoms in children are showing similar to adults.

"These symptoms are usually more mild than previous variants, but omicron still causes illnesses," said Dr. Turner. "These symptoms include fever, mild respiratory problems such as coughing and wheezing. Younger kids are also having gastrointestinal system symptoms with vomiting and diarrhea.

This highly contagious variant is forcing schools to temporarily close.

A Kilgore ISD spokesperson tells CBS19, closing was a "very difficult decision to make."

In a statement, the district says it understands the hardships this causes for parents and its students, but due to an increase in student absences, it believes closing will give time to disinfect the campuses.

Nacogdoches ISD is closed due to high numbers in COVID-19 cases. Lufkin ISD is similar in size, but has a mask mandate in place.

Lufkin ISD is still open with 35 student and 12 positive staff cases.

If your child tests positive, Dr. Turner says it's best for them to quarantine and wear a mask-- but they could face some long-term symptoms.

"Children are coming in with coughs for weeks to months, wheezing, or prolonged fatigue," says Turner. She adds that "long-term respiratory inflammation often results in prescription medication to help with the post-COVID-19 symptoms."

For crowded areas, Dr. Turner recommends masks, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing.

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