WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Jeff Groce and his daughter Bella are preparing for the start of the new school year. Classes start for Wake County students on the traditional calendar on Monday.
Groce is like some parents around Wake County who still have COVID concerns. "I'm most concerned with the same conditions even though they portray them to be settled down as far as the pandemic, but in my opinion, it's still ramping," said Groce.
Wake County made changes to its COVID protocols earlier this month. In a few days, parents and students will see it in action. The district will no longer require physical distancing. They're recommending masks, not requiring them and they will no longer conduct contact tracing.
"COVID is still out there. It hasn't gone away. You know, things were pretty great in North Carolina back in March. But things have definitely picked up and most respiratory viruses pick up as we get into fall, people move kind of closer indoors and more time together, and we have the start of school," explained Dr. Christoph Diasio. He is the president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society.
As kids head back to class on Monday numbers show COVID is still impacting families.
A recent study by the CDC that tracks the percentage of antibodies against a virus in blood found nearly 80% of children in North Carolina had evidence of a past COVID infection.
Dr. Diasio said the evidence of antibodies doesn't guarantee your child won't experience reinfection.
"I think about having evidence of prior infection doesn't necessarily equal that you are protected against COVID. It is very much our hope that if you've had prior COVID, you will do better with second infections. But we do have data showing that people who have had prior infections can get infected again," Diasio continued.
That's why doctors continue to stress vaccination. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, only 30% of children from six months to 17 years old have received one dose of the COVID vaccine.
Groce got his daughter Bella vaccinated. "I had hesitation, but I got it myself. I almost actually died from COVID in December. So, I didn't want her to go through that. So, I chose to get her vaccinated," said Groce.