HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Parents are preparing for their children to return to the classroom with school for many in the Wiregrass set to start this week as COVID cases continue to increase nationwide and in Alabama.

The question in many parents’ minds, what precautions they should take for their children as cases of COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the state and Wiregrass.

“You’re going to have kids close together, Corey Kirkland, Public Health Administrator at the Alabama Department of Public Health said. “Whatever resources the schools are putting in place to help prevent that spread.”

With COVID-19 cases increasing in numbers we haven’t seen before nationwide and in Alabama. Health experts said children’s COVID-cases are up and expected to increase with the omicron variant.

“Especially in the five and older group, it’s not surprising we are going to see a few more cases with kids going forward,” Kirkland said.

According to medical experts, the next four to six weeks are going to be rough as the highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread. As parents gear to send their kids back to school, the CDC urges them to remind their children to practice the basic COVID-19 precautions.

“Good handwashing, stressing that to the kids,” Kirkland said. “Stressing not to be sharing objects especially food and drink items. Just remember those basic things, using your hand sanitizer.”

Last week, a record high with an average of 378 kids in hospitals nationwide fighting the virus.

As of Sunday, about 14% of children five 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that rate goes up to 53% for twelve to 17-years-olds.

“We do have some increasing numbers in children being vaccinated, that, of course, is encouraging,” Kirkland said.

With kids just days away from returning to the classroom, the ADPH is stressing the importance of parents getting their children who are eligible vaccinated, not only to be protected against the virus but also to help keep COVID-19 cases as low as possible.

“I know before some kids went to school and still wore their mask and that is certainly something the parents need to consider going forward,” Kirkland said.