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With Delta variant on the rise, some local parents not hesitant about kids returning to school

As COVID-19 cases surge, CDC recommends universal indoor mask use
Posted at 10:55 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 23:15:29-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Federal health officials say the more transmissible Delta variant now accounts for 83% of current U.S. COVID-19 cases. The Virginia Department of Health has reported 158 cases in the state, with the biggest share in central Virginia and not as many cases here in Hampton Roads.

With the Delta variant spreading throughout the country, some are hesitant to send their kids and grandkids back to school.

"I hope they come up with something for children who are 6 years old. Mine are at that tender age. I still try to keep them isolated. I won’t even bring them down to this playground, but I want to so bad," said Richard Pace, a grandfather of three grandchildren.

Pace also says he's hesitant to send his grandchildren back to school in the fall.

Dr. Ryan Light with Greenbrier Family Medicine in Chesapeake says there’s a low chance of children contracting the virus.

"When we look at COVID and children, it isn’t a very deadly disease. It’s not something that’s extremely deadly for children," Dr. Light said.

Several cases of the Delta variant have been reported in central Virginia. Dr. Light says the variant is primarily affecting unvaccinated adults.

"We haven’t seen an uptick where we’ve seen this variant coming through the area," Dr. Light said.

Jared Stetzer, a tourist visiting from Wisconsin, says he feels comfortable sending his kids back to school in the fall.

"Our kids went to school all year and in school last year. So, we’re gonna send them back again this year. We’re vaccinated. My wife and I are and our oldest is vaccinated. The two youngest ones aren’t, but still no hesitation," Stetzer said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently broke with CDC guidance, recommending everyone should mask up in schools regardless of their vaccination status.

One Virginia Beach parent says he agrees with this stance and says his kids will still continue to wear their masks.

"As a parent that is currently vaccinated, we definitely have masks in hand for when we go out in public," said Anselmo Cantu, a parent of two children who aren't old enough to get the vaccine.

Cantu says they will get it when the vaccine becomes available to children under 12.

"Right now, my daughter is in school, and she does wear a mask," Cantu said.

Related: Virginia Gov. Northam says school mask guidelines are about 'empowering' localities

Another parent says she’s still hesitant to get her daughter vaccinated.

"Until more studies are available and the bugs are all worked out, because they are coming up with these vaccines a little too fast for me," Joy Kinley said.

Click here for more Safely at School coverage.