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Parents are hopeful for normalcy as children prepare to go back to school

Though experts warn of the spread of the delta variant, parents Jennifer and Michael Clymer hope their children can go back to being kids again.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — In almost a month kids will be headed back to school for a new academic year.

Health experts are warning, though the time should be fun as children reunite with their old pals, they should still be careful as they say the delta variant is highly transmissible even in kids.

"The real threat is that they will give it to their parents or particularly their grandparents," said Dr. John Goldman, infectious disease specialist for UPMC.

Dr. Goldman says the delta variant is highly infectious than the original strain of the virus.

"The original strain of COVID probably infected 2-3 people for every 1 person infected with COVID," he said, "the delta variant infects 4-6 for every 1 person with COVID."

Jennifer Clymer of Harrisburg is a parent of two girls, Abigail and Esther.

Clymer says over the past year, her nieces and nephews had the virus and it did not have a negative impact on her children.

"For my kids, I mean they've played with my nieces and nephews, and it hasn't hit them in this whole time and there hasn't been anything," said Clymer.

Clymer's nieces and nephews have recovered from the virus; her husband, Michael Clymer has recently been recovering from a strenuous surgery when doctors had to remove a tumor from his brain. He says COVID-19 protocols kept him from who he adored most during rehab.

"I couldn't hold my kids while in the hospital recovering because of the protocols," he said.

Clymer says he is fine with each parent making the right choice for their child but wants the children to have a sense of normality again.

"They should be outside playing not be worrying about diseases and what-not. That's the parent's job," he said. "I worry how much we screwed up the generation with this lockdown." 

Dr. Goldman is stressing masking with the delta variant among us, but Jennifer says as a parent she's seen the negative impacts through the development of two and a half-year-old Esther.

"They would be speaking with their masks, and she couldn't see their faces, the trust issues in all of those things as well," she said.

Jennifer Clymer says she understands the reluctance while there is a stress for more vaccinations.

"When they choose, and it should be a choice -- when they choose to get vaccinated there is always the possibility that there will be a bad reaction to the vaccine itself," Jennifer Clymer said.

She hopes fear does not decide how people choose to combat the virus.

"Could my anxiety about this put me, at a higher level of danger and not having the ability to fight it off?" Jennifer Clymer said.

Dr. Goldman, among other health providers, continues to push for many to get vaccinated. Dr. Goldman says there are other methods when it comes to those who are vulnerable and cannot yet get the vaccine.

"Breast-feeding mothers, in particular, should be vaccinated since they'll be able to do what's called passive immunization to their babies and actually protect them from COVID," he said. 

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