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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some of the most vulnerable to this strain of COVID-19 appears to be children as the spike in cases is also rising among their ranks.

Those treating children say it is putting a strain on where to put patients and how to keep everyone safe.

As of Monday, 30 children are at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital with COVID. Schools become the front line when children cases rise as students gather in one place and teachers also become infected, which has the teachers union worried.

“The problem is exacerbated because when teachers are out ill, it compounds the problem for those who are there and who are well, who will probably ultimately become ill as well,” Keith Williams said.

The union shared a letter with WREG they received from a middle school staff member complaining about how an outbreak was handled. The staff member said they were kept in the dark about an outbreak among the staff, resulting in an entire team testing positive and 13 students told to quarantine.

The staff member also said the virus spread even further and though some cleaning was done, it was not enough.

Shelby County School Board President, Michelle McKissack said schools are doing what they can against the virus, but the state has made it clear that going back to virtual learning is not an option.

“The appeal process is very tedious,” McKissack said. “Very few schools and situations are getting that permission to have that exception to the rule.”

Shelby County Schools’ weekly dashboard shows how much the numbers are rising. The last three weeks show 579 students and 377 staff members with new COVID cases.

The school system continues mandating masks, practicing social distancing when possible and conducting contract tracing.