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The clock is ticking for schools to reopen, why health experts say safety measures are important now more than ever

"Masking continues to be the best way to keep us from starting over," said Dr. Jessica Ericson, pediatric infectious diseases expert.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The time for swim trunks and roller coasters will soon be over as books and pencils will be the need in almost two months.

Schools will reopen soon and the state's department of education is reviewing the recent guidelines the Center of Disease Control has put out in regard to students in grades K-12 returning to school in the fall.

Under this guideline, safety measures include: wearing a mask for those who are not fully vaccinated, maintaining a 3-foot physical distance between students within classrooms, and much more.

Though the country and Commonwealth have made strides in helping to reduce the spread, experts stress without vaccinations, masking is the best method of protection especially against the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.

"As long as we're not having everyone immunized, masking continues to be the best way to keep us from starting over essentially with having a big outbreak in our community," said Dr. Jessica Ericson, pediatric infectious diseases physician for Penn State Health Children's Hospital.

Erica Smith of Harrisburg is a mother of three and she says masks are not enough.

"My kids still got it, even with masks, and brought it home," said Smith.

Smith says though the mandate has been lifted she plans on continuing the same safety measures she had in place.

"Everything will still be the same, once they get home, change your clothing wash your hands," she said, "until everything's completely in the clear or if they were able to get vaccinated."

Dr. Ericson says if we all continue to practice more safety incentives, we will bring about greater protection towards the virus and its variants. 

"Being immunized, and wearing a mask, and having good ventilation in the classroom, and having students be 3 to 6 feet away from each other when possible, each of those extra measures adds an extra percent of protection," said Dr. Ericson.

Smith says she is glad schools are making efforts to provide in-person learning full-time.

"Getting them into school is definitely better than being at home."

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