WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — WPTV NewsChannel 5 spoke directly with the American Academy of Pediatrics, answering questions from parents in the community about COVID-19 and the return to school.
"These are worrisome times, but we can do our best to make sure our children are safe as possible going back to school," said Dr. Candice Jones with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"We know that school is important, and it is essential," Jones said. "The recommendation is to make sure that if your child is 12 and up, that they receive the COVID vaccine, and in addition to that, whether they are vaccinated or not, that they are going to school wearing a mask to protect themselves, others and to reduce the spread of this delta variant in the community."
Jones said more children are being hospitalized with COVID-19 with the delta variant around.
"This virus is unpredictable," she said. "We even know now the face of the hospitalizations are changing. A large part of people in the hospital right now are younger, when it used to be a much older group of people. And, yes, our children's hospital numbers are going up."
She said it highlights the importance of your child doing what they can and that means wearing a mask properly at school when indoors.
"Certainly the best-case scenario is for everyone to be wearing masks, but being realistic, we know that if masks are not mandated, there will be individuals who will not wear a mask," she said. "So in that scenario, yes, there may be more risk."
She said the community, as a whole, has to do what they can to protect others, including children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
"If your child is eligible to get the COVID vaccine, which is 12 and up, please, it is not too late," she said. "Get it, and please put your child in a mask."