MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WDTN) – Parents and students across the Miami Valley are hoping this school year will be different. After a year of uncertainty and virtual learning many want to physically be in the classroom.

“That is where we feel the students learn best that is what we feel is most important and that is what our community shares with us too,” said Scott Marshall, district communications coordinator for Springboro Schools.

However, according to Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director of Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County, children are at serious risks of catching COVID in the classroom if they’re not protected.

“One out of every 10 new cases is in a child that’s 11 years of age or younger. The group that can’t get vaccinated,” he explained. Dohn also said the best way to protect this vulnerable group is to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible.

“To some extent, our failure to get lots of people vaccinated has put our young people at some risk. We haven’t had the ‘cocoon’ of vaccinated people to protect those kids,” said Dohn.

At Springboro Schools, more than 70 percent of their staff are vaccinated. School officials say they’re working with local health leaders and keeping track of case numbers to make decisions but things might change throughout the year

“[We’re asking for] patience and understanding through all of this,” said Marshall. “Our staff is really working hard in a lot of different ways with contact tracing and quarantining in addition to nursing, teaching, all of that.”