SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The debate over a mask mandate and mandatory vaccinations comes as kids are getting ready to head back to school. That uncertainty can be unsettling for kids.

Dr. Douglas Goldsmith, a child psychologist, says it is a mixed bag when it comes to how kids are feeling about returning to school and the best parents can do is talk with their kids.

“There are a lot of children, we should be clear about that,” Dr. Goldsmith states. “Who are excited to get back to school.”

But Dr. Goldsmith says children have mixed emotions.

“There are a number of children that feel very anxious about. Oh no! It’s homework. Oh no! I am going to get bullied again. Oh no! What if the teacher gets angry with me,” Dr. Goldsmith explains.

This, paired with anxiety due to some students potentially having to wear a mask.

“I am afraid if I am the only one, I would be teased and that is very common for kids, elementary, junior high, and high school,” Dr. Goldsmith continues. “You do not want to be different from your peers.”

According to the state, since the start of the pandemic more than 82,000 children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and the Delta variant is causing that number to increase.

The Salt Lake County Health Department is recommending children under the age of 12 who are eligible for a vaccine to wear a mask in all Salt Lake County schools.

Which is why Dr. Goldsmith says parents must talk to their students.