MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday marked the end of the holiday break for Shelby County students, but unfortunately, there is no break from the pandemic as the rules with the coronavirus are constantly changing.

Just Monday, the FDA authorized Pfizer vaccine boosters for those between the ages of 12-15, five months after their last dose. The CDC still must approve this decision before it moves forward.

In the meantime, some SCS parents are saying there is one thing that will remain unchanged for them, and that is following the district’s mask mandate.

“Whatever it takes to keep us from spreading it, is important. So I think masks are okay with me,” parent Curtis Hines said.

Shelby County Schools posted this message from Dr. Joris Ray, encouraging parents to quote ‘Stay the Course,’ concerning masks.

Dr. Ray says face coverings along with vaccinations slow the spread of the virus. 

However, there is confusion on if cloth masks, in particular, are good enough to face off against the newest variant. 

Health experts say cloth masks should be paired with surgical masks, those like an N95.

Adding the Omicron variant has changed the rules of the pandemic.

Those we spoke with say they are closely following the directives from the Shelby County Health Department, especially knowing there were more than 3,600 kids with COVID in Shelby County as of Monday morning.

Some parents are concerned the return to school could result in a return of a COVID surge.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there so I just really hope the parents are doing their job to educate the kids on why this is a thing and why this is important,” Hines said.

Parents we spoke to say even if masks were optional, they are in line with the protocols and procedures still in place for SCS.

This semester SCS students will also have the option to be tested on a weekly basis instead of every two weeks. 

Parents who want their kids tested will have to fill out a consent form here.