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What the Delta variant of COVID-19 could mean for schools as kids head back to class

How kids can stay safe as the mutation fuels a new COVID-19 surge. We "Connect the Dots" on KHOU 11.

HOUSTON — Schools across the country are getting ready to welcome back students even as the Delta variant of the coronavirus races through communities. So, what does Delta mean for schools?

Classroom return priority for children

Health officials admit that the highly contagious Delta variant has changed the war on COVID. Despite that, experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that getting kids back in classrooms should be a priority. That is because the of the dangers of learning loss, mental health concerns and the hardships on parents. But can it be done safely?

Basic precautions, transmission low

Research shows that in school transmission last year was low when schools took basic precautions. That includes wearing masks and three-foot distancing. A pediatric infectious disease specialist told the New York Times, with those kinds of precautions there will be some transmission, but it will be relatively infrequent. With even more precautions including symptom screening, improved ventilation and required hand washing, transmission rates were lower than the surrounding community.

Questions remain and kid cases are rising

All that research was before the Delta variant started fueling a fourth wave. And there are still a lot of things we don’t know yet about Delta. While more kids are getting coronavirus right now that could be because they are more likely to be unvaccinated. And while children are less likely to have severe cases, some kids with mild infections may experience long-term symptoms.

Also watch: When could COVID vaccines get full FDA approval