Discussion: Kids return to school amid the surging delta variant

The World
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With bottles of gel, temperature checks and wide-open windows, a new school year began Monday for millions of children in Mexico.

Officially, school is starting “in person, responsibly and orderly,” according to the Education Ministry.

The new school year begins at a time when Mexico is in the midst of its third wave of COVID-19 infections and has recorded more than 380,000 COVID-19 confirmed deaths. About 64% of its adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine, but very few children are vaccinated.

As in Mexico, school bells rang in parts of Indonesia’s capital for the first time in more than a year on Monday as schools shut by the coronavirus were allowed to begin reopening as cases decline.

In-person schooling will blend with remote learning and gradually increase based on the government’s evaluation of the situation.

Related discussion: The delta variant surge and what's next in the pandemic

And in the United States, as a new school year begins, local governments are grappling over teacher vaccinations and mask mandates amid a surging delta variant.

Children around the world are returning to class after long pandemic closures, but with the rapid spread of the more contagious delta variant and coronavirus vaccines not available for much of the global school-aged population, children’s health risks have become even more pressing.

Health authories and parents in countries from Europe to Asia, Africa to North and South America, are asking questions about what exactly is know about the variant’s impact on children in particular?

As part of The World's regular series of conversations about the pandemic, reporter Elana Gordon moderated a discussion about the delta variant’s impact on children with Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

This conversation is presented in partnership with The Forum at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The AP contributed to this post.