Birmingham physicians sending letter to local schools about COVID-19 safety


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A group of Birmingham-area physicians is sending a letter to local schools with advice on how to keep students safe from COVID-19 this school year.

The physicians, who are parents themselves, have already sent the letter to many schools, and their goal is to send it to every school in the greater Birmingham area. They believe more medical voices are needed in the conversation about school safety during the pandemic.

“There’s no perfect system here, and we recognize that,” Birmingham pediatrician Dr. Kelli Tapley said. “But we’re trying to do what we can within the limits and within the knowledge that we have to best protect our students – and not just our students, but the teachers and the faculty, the staff, the grandparents, the siblings at home.”


Page 1 of the letter from Birmingham physicians to local schools with advice on how to keep schools safe.
Page 2 of the letter from Birmingham physicians to local schools with advice on how to keep schools safe.

Tapley is one of 72 physicians who signed the letter, which outlines 10 recommendations for how schools can safely operate during the pandemic. Among those is a recommendation that school leaders mandate masks.

“We’re advocating masks because we feel like we can do our best job at protecting people if everyone wears them,” Tapley said. “That’s kind of how it works: my mask protects you, and your mask protects me.”

Among other measures, the letter also recommends frequent hand-washing, creative use of outdoor activities and flu vaccines. The doctors say it’s important for parents, doctors and school leaders to work together. They wanted to write the letter to give doctors and parents the opportunity to have a voice in the decision-making process.

“We really felt strongly that we wanted to make it easy for people to make their voices heard in a way that was organized and evidence-based,” Birmingham pediatrician Dr. Gigi Youngblood said.

The letter also emphasizes how doctors wish to serve as a resource in developing safety plans with the schools.


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.