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As COVID cases climb, parents make tough choices ahead of the upcoming school year

Families with unvaccinated children are concerned as COVID-19 cases are climbing at the worst possible time — weeks before a new school year.

HOUSTON — Rising COVID-19 cases coupled with stalling vaccination numbers are raising concerns among families with unvaccinated children. A lot of families are divided -- some children are protected and others aren't.

So what are parents to do?

Inside the Ali home, children Azam, Zia and Ashi are all living through very different summers.

"We definitely had to make individual decisions for our children based on their vaccination status as well as family-based decisions based on their vaccination status," Sehba Ali said.

Zia, 12, is the only one who has been vaccinated. Her younger brother and sister anxiously are waiting for their turn.

"I really want it because I can do more things," Azam said.

"It would just give us a layer of protection," Ashi said.

RELATED: 'I'm anticipating a repeat of last fall' | Growing concerns about upcoming school year due to mask rules, vaccination rates among kids

Without the vaccine, parents have plenty to think about.

"When we're out and about, we're more concerned about two than three," Shehz Ali said.

The Alis aren't alone. Many families are juggling the same concerns. Too many children aren't eligible to get vaccinated and COVID-19 cases are climbing at the worst possible time -- right before the new school year.

"It's really scary. We can see the COVID numbers rise," Sehba said.

Despite the new case counts, most schools will be 100% in-person this fall, and due to Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order, masks can't be mandated in schools.

"There's so many children in our schools who won't be vaccinated," Sehba Ali said.

So, it'll be up to parents to decide whether to mask up their kids or not. Sehba Ali said their decision has been made.

"Until they're vaccinated, they'll continue to wear masks out in public places and continue to wear masks in school," she said.

There's no timetable when kids under 12 will be able to roll up their sleeves, but parents are ready and waiting.

"We're going to be first in line as soon as we can get our younger two children vaccinated," Sehba Ali said. "It will be a gamechanger for our family. We will feel so much safer and secure with all of our children vaccinated."

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