Zika virus mayhem has officially bled into the back to school frenzy, as millions of children across the country began filing back into schools this week. For children in or near the South Florida neighborhood of Wynwood, the added complication of Zika fears have created stress amongst students and parents. Some residents and parents in the Miami neighborhood, considered the ground zero of Zika, are fighting the system which has banned the use of mosquito and bug repellants.
Bug repellants have always been banned due to the possibility of some children being allergic, but now some parents are so frightened by the recent rash of news stories involving Zika virus that they want the rule changed. The school is telling children to wear long sleeves and jeans, but some parents claim the region’s hot temperatures simply don’t allow for that.
While Miami-Dade’s school district does ban bug repellants, it does encourage parents to apply the repellant before children leave for school, so technically, they can wear it. Additionally, the virus is only linked to complications in pregnant women, not children. But the consistent fear mongering has prompted many parents to think irrationally and become hypersensitive to the issue.
According to an article in the Miami Herald, the school board fired back at angry parents, telling them that where children leave is more a determining factor regarding Zika than where they attend school.
“The school location itself is almost irrelevant; it’s where the students live that makes a difference,” Carvalho said. “Operationally we’re able to do it. The decision is by doing that are we reducing the threat level in any way?”
The CDC and news media have created a monster in Florida. Businesses are now suffering, parents are afraid to send their children to school and tourism is likely to suffer throughout the winter months.