FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Pretty soon students across the region will return to the classroom, as health experts are urging families to get kids who are eligible vaccinated.

The clock is ticking if you want to make sure your child is fully protected from COVID -19 by the time they are back in the classroom.

Here at the Medical Arts Pharmacy, they tell us they are seeing more parents bringing their kids to get the shot. Pharmacist, Julie Stewart says they get a steady stream of about 20 to 30 walk-ins daily for the COVID-19 shot.

As of right now, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one available for kids 12 and older.

Stewart says vaccinated kids protect the entire school community and the time to get the shot is now. It takes about five weeks to be considered fully vaccinated after completing the two-shot series.

“If more kids are vaccinated then they are protecting kids that can’t get vaccinated by being less likely to get it, by being less likely to have severe disease and by being less likely to spread it,” said Stewart.

Parents do have to sign a consent form for anyone under 18 years old.

During visits, Stewart also emphasizes to parents the importance of the kids getting their regular physicals and maintaining good health.

Now when it comes to kids five to eleven years old, the department of health tells us they expect the FDA to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for that age group sometime in the fall.

Now the same safety habits they’ve practiced last school year, are important now during the summer and will be important again this fall, especially for the kids who are not vaccinated.

Stewart says it’s a good time to get back into those good hygiene practices like washing your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and regular health screenings.

Now there won’t be a mask mandate in schools this fall but face coverings are still highly recommended especially for unvaccinated kids.

“There’s not a mask requirement but it doesn’t mean that masks are not allowed So if I had a child who was under 12, I would go ahead and send them to school and have them wear a mask,” said Stewart.

If your child has any symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, coughing, fever, keep them home and away from other kids.

If they show COVID-like symptoms, she recommends getting them tested so they can follow the proper quarantine and be in good health ahead of school.

Besides the vaccine, wearing a mask and social distancing when indoors is still your best line of defense from getting sick.