SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Local health officials say the state is in dire times because of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

A new CDC study laid out just how contagious it is for school-aged children, in a report that stems back to May.

According to the study, an unvaccinated elementary school teacher infected with the Delta variant spread it to half of the students in her classroom infecting 12 out of 24 students.

That started an outbreak at the small elementary school in Marin County, California that eventually infected 26 people.

“I wish people would understand that what we are seeing is preventable,” said CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, Dr. Marc Harrison.

All it took was a few moments without a mask on for the teacher in California to get half her elementary class sick with the Covid-19 Delta variant. 

The CDC study also stated that the teacher had reported being symptomatic with Covid-19 on May 19, but went on teaching for two more days.

On May 21, she tested positive with the Delta variant, and two days after that, on May 23, staff, students, and families tested positive for Covid; 26 people in all.

“We also know that kids are very good spreaders and even if they don’t get sick they take their infection home to those who may be more vulnerable,” said Utah Department of Health Deputy Director Dr. Michelle Hofmann.

The CDC study added that the unvaccinated teacher stood in front of the class and on occasion, between the time of the reported symptoms and the positive Covid test, read aloud, unmasked to the class despite school requirements to mask while indoors.

“Right now cases among school-aged children are about 3.5 times higher than what we saw at the beginning of the last school year,” said Hofmann.

Health officials say the U.S. is still months out until a Covid-19 vaccine is approved for those under the age of 12.

The CDC said this study highlights the importance of vaccinating school staff members who are in close indoor contact with children ineligible for vaccination as schools have reopened.