(WJHL) — Doctors across the region continue to urge school leaders to push for mask mandates within school facilities.

The push follows as COVID-19 cases surge throughout the Tri-Cities as school doors reopen.

In a letter posted earlier this week, doctors and health professionals requested that school officials follow CDC recommendations in reopening protocol, including mask mandates.

Dr. Blair Reece signed the request because of her rising concern surrounding the Delta variant, its spread and how it’s impacting school-aged children.

“This issue affects all of us in our community,” Reece said. “If we allow our schools to become hotbeds for COVID outbreaks and allow our children to become infected, they’ll bring it home to their parents, grandparents, neighbors and church groups.

“We will see huge increases in our entire community. So, this issue affects every single person living in the Tri-Cities.”

Reece went on to say that slowing the spread starts with masks.

“Asking our children and their teachers and staff to wear masks is a very small inconvenience to possibly save a life,” she said. “It is [children’s] only defense against COVID.”