Reopening schools with no mask requirements is a "formula for disaster," the Children's Hospital New Orleans physician-in-chief said.
COVID-19 cases have been surging across the country.
The highly transmissible Delta variant has posed new concerns for the upcoming school year.
Reopening schools loaded with unvaccinated children and no mask requirements in place is a "formula for disaster," the physician-in-chief of the Children's Hospital New Orleans said.
"I think bringing together large numbers of children, congregating them in classrooms with masks being optional - or worse yet even, forbidden - is just a formula for disaster," Dr. Mark Kline said in an interview with CNN.
COVID-19 cases, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, have been surging across the country, including in states like Louisiana.
Last week, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards reissued a statewide indoor mask mandate for people ages five and up as COVID-19 cases continue to spike throughout the Bayou State.
"This virus that we're dealing with now is a game changer, and it's just so easily transmitted from person-to-person that this could truly catalyze an explosion of cases across the region," said Kline.
There is no COVID-19 vaccine approved yet for children under the age of 12.
Dr. Richard Besser, a former acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned this week that school buildings across the country may be "forced to shut down" more this year than last year due to COVID-19.
"I expect that it's going to jump around different classrooms and schools will be forced to shut down more than they did in fact last year," Besser said during an interview on NBC's "Today" show.
Besser continued, "I think this fall is going to be really challenging for schools."
"I think children belong in the classroom. But what we're going to see is little outbreaks, clusters in different schools, schools shutting down, reopening," he explained.
A recent weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association detailed an uptick in coronavirus cases among children.
Nearly 94,000 new virus cases were recorded in children last week, according to the report, which noted it's "a continuing substantial increase."
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