The science is constantly evolving, and the last thing a parent wants is their child to catch covid from school.
Lindsey Theis spoke with experts about the latest data related to risk.
Going back to school is always hectic in the fall. Just ask 12-year-old Janelle Velador in East Palo Alto, California.
"I was kinda nervous," said Janelle.
And for her mom Evie, the nerves are there, too, but much has to do with COVID. Even though Janelle is vaccinated against COVID, Evie’s 8-year-old son isn’t eligible yet.
"Scary because you just don't know what to expect. We thought we were almost out in the clear," said Velador. " Because it's the Delta. You know, it's getting worse. You know, once you think you're taking one step forward, you take two steps backwards."
Risk wise, research shows that younger kids tend to transmit the virus less than high school age kids. For the most part — those cases are mild. Children are less likely to need hospitalization in the first place. About 1 in 3 children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States were admitted to the intensive care unit.
"The rates of children dying from COVID have been the same throughout what we've seen since last year. Hospitalization rates in certain parts of the country have gone up based on their transmission rates and community transmission. But the risk of severe morbidity and mortality remains the same, which is good for kids," said Dr. Bessey Geevarghese, a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
There’s also MISC, or the multisystem inflammatory cases. It’s a serious condition associated with COVID where different body parts like the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, become inflamed. So far, those numbers have stayed stable. Delta could still change that.
"We'll just have to wait and see how this will affect children. But it is a possibility that the rates of MISC can go up in relevance to the number of cases that we're seeing in each county, in each state," said Dr. Geevarghese.
Much of the science has evolved but doctors say the one consistency: Layers of protection: masking, vaccinations, and distancing help stop the virus from spreading. And for that reason, the experts we spoke to say that kids should be back in school, but they should definitely be masked up.
At Janelle’s school, that includes a once weekly rapid COVID test. That’s something that has given both her and mom peace of mind, going into the fall.
" There is nothing really to be scared about, they're just checking to see if you're sick or not," said Janelle.
Evie Velador, Parent
"It makes me feel a level of certainty that we're going to be OK, at least when it comes to the kids bringing anything back from school," said Janelle's mom.