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Omaha doctor’s office issues controversial letter about children and COVID-19

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 7:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A controversial letter about sending kids back to school was sent out by a west Omaha doctor’s office.

It’s concerning to health officials and some parents.

Family Medicine at Legacy sent out the letter which calls for a complete return to pre-COVID-19 conditions in schools with no safeguards for students or teachers.

A controversial letter about sending kids back to school was sent out by a west Omaha doctor’s office.
A controversial letter about sending kids back to school was sent out by a west Omaha doctor’s office.(WOWT)
A controversial letter about sending kids back to school was sent out by a west Omaha doctor’s office.
A controversial letter about sending kids back to school was sent out by a west Omaha doctor’s office.(WOWT)

Shaun Behrans has three daughters in school and is also a teacher at Omaha Benson High School.

“It kind of concerned me. I kind of thought it was satire,” Behrans said.

The letter contradicts many of the safeguards recommended by the CDC and Douglas County Health Department in regard to keeping kids safe when they return to school.

Social distancing, masks, protective barriers and avoiding large groups of people, for example.

The letter says “children are almost bulletproof” and not likely to catch or transmit the coronavirus.

Behrans believes the letter sends the wrong message.

“That worries me a little bit. Because I think kids always have a tendency to think they are bulletproof -- and when you get told that enough times, you believe it. I don’t think we are at a point where we understand corona enough to be giving out that kind of information,” he said. “I’m not a doctor but I’d like to think that I’m a well-educated person. I do my research, I do my reading and I listen to a lot of different viewpoints.”

Dr. Anne O’Keefe is a senior epidemiologist with the Douglas County Health Department. She called the contents of the letter irresponsible.

“I was pretty shocked about the letter. It’s full of misinformation. The whole letter was full of phrases that were inaccurate and full of misinformation that’s potentially dangerous,” she said.

“One of the statements said that children do not transmit this virus and that’s not true and the other people that we need to think about in the schools is the teachers and the staff,” O’Keefe added.

Behrans fits that category.

He plans to do everything possible to keep himself, his family and his students safe.

“Probably a face shield and whatever tools they give me. I’m going to use all the tools I can to ensure my safety and likewise I want my students to be safe as well. I’d rather be safe than sorry,” he said.

The Douglas County Health Department was so concerned about what the letter says that it was forwarded to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Requests for comment from Family Medicine at Legacy have not been answered.

Copyright 2020 WOWT. All rights reserved.

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