There is no coronavirus vaccine for kids under the age of 12.By Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Chris and Maggie Poole said they have concerns about their immunocompromised son heading back to school in the fall as the Delta variant continues to spread.

However, they say they’re taking the risk so the 9-year-old boy gets the socialization he needs.

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“He’s on a ventilator 24 hours a day, so he will go to school with a ventilator and oxygen and a mask,” said Maggie Poole.

The Pooles have seven kids all under the age of 12. Six of them will be heading back to Cano-Mac in the fall. The district isn’t mandating that students and teachers wear masks but is offering those who mask up an area where they can eat and drink safely without a mask.

“I feel kids in elementary create a divide themselves and now we are dividing kids,” said Maggie Poole.

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Superintendent Mark Holtzman with McKeesport Area School District said it’s not an easy decision to make. Right now, his district is also choosing optional mask-wearing.

“Lacking a mandate makes it very challenging for us,” said Holtzman. “At this point, from some feedback we received, some families are saying, ‘I don’t want to send my children with masks.'”

However, health experts believe districts should mandate masking despite the CDC’s current recommendation, especially for the kids who are still too young to get the COVID-19 shot.

“Because so many children are the ones who aren’t vaccinated, we are seeing an increase in the percentage being a pediatric population,” said Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital Dr. Marian Michaels. “In the last month, we have had 30 children hospitalized at Children’s Hospital because of COVID. And even in the last week, there have been 11 new cases of hospitalization, including babies.”

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There is no coronavirus vaccine for kids under the age of 12.