RICHMOND, Va. - As the school year grows nearer, doctors are growing more concerned as they are seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases among children.
As summer camp wraps up at River Road Preschool, Director Danielle Simone is not sure what to expect when the next school year starts.
"With the delta variant increasing the positivity rates, I will not be surprised if we do see stricter rules put in place by the VDOE as we head into the school year," Simone said.
Simone said she religiously follows guidance from the Virginia Department of Education.
All of her teachers wear masks regardless of vaccination status when inside the building, or at drop off or pick up, kids five and up wear masks, all the children do a lot of extra hand washing and the kids are cohorted by age.
"They are staying within their age groups in isolation," Simone said.
However this summer, Simone said she made one small change, starting to allow parents to come inside with their masks on to drop off their children.
"But they must drop children off at the [classroom] door, they are not allowed into the classroom," Simone said.
Simone is hopeful she will not have to pull back on that but said she is keeping a close eye on COVID-19 numbers.
"Kids are making up about 20 percent of new cases," Doctor Tiffany Kimbrough, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, said.
Kids are not getting admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 at anywhere close to the same rate as older adults, but as more kids get the virus, Dr. Kimbrough said physicians have seen an increase in hospitalization rates in children. She added that kids who contract COVID have the potential for long-haul syndrome.
"Having symptoms that last beyond four to six weeks, that can include shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle pain, difficulty concentrating," Dr. Kimbrough said.
She advises parents to make sure their child's school or camp is still practicing COVID-19 prevention measures.
"So this is not the time to relax what you might have implemented last year?" CBS6 reporter Melissa Hipolit asked Dr. Kimbrough.
"Exactly," Kimbrough replied. "As we are seeing numbers go up we really need to double down on those evidence-based measures, like masking, to help keep our kids safe."
Dr. Kimbrough said if we can all work on keeping case numbers low, that will provide another level of reassurance that our kids are safe.