BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Students are back in school and scientists along with doctors are trying to get a handle on how the pandemic is being tracked as large numbers of kids are congregated in school buildings.

Maryland now has a mask mandate for all public schools but not all states require them and some officials think that leaves children susceptible to COVID-19 infection and with many schools no longer offering a virtual option, the discussion changes weekly when it comes to keeping children safe.

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On Sunday, no new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours in Maryland but the number of people in the hospital remains up. The positivity hit 4.34 percent overnight as more than 1000 people tested positive since Saturday.

But one question about school-aged children still remains on the minds of many parents and educators — are children safe in schools?

“The most significant and severe parts of this disease where it becomes fatal is not affecting children how it affects adults,” said Beth Blauer, Public Sector Innovation, Johns Hopkins.

The Coronavirus Resource Center believes children are still in the lowest susceptible age group to COVID-19.

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“It’s still unclear whether the Delta variant causes more severe disease in children,” said Dr. William Moss with the International Vaccine Access Center.

But as many are unprotected by the vaccine, many schools across the country have implemented a mask mandate. Some, like Dallas, are breaking state rulings to do so.

“It’s not COVID 1.0 now we have 363 students and 259 staff,” said Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas Independent Schools.

Dr. Moss from the International Vaccine Access Center said the FDA is requiring six months of testing for ages under 12. The adult vaccine testing period was two months.

He thinks ages five to 11 could be approved for the Pfizer vaccine as early as late October and ages two to five may be approved by early 2022.

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The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource center has data on all 50 states and the entire press conference, including information about how other school districts are handling testing and vaccines. For more info, click here. 

Rachael Cardin