WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — United States lawmakers say not enough is being done to protect children during the pandemic.

“Communities and families are now struggling with the delta variant, a far more infectious version of the virus,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said.

Pallone says local leaders need to be more responsible, especially for those too young to be vaccinated.

“The state and local actions that ignore or even contradict the science put our children at risk and undermine our ability to end the pandemic,” Pallone said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children now represent 25% of the country’s new COVID-19 cases and encourages schools to keep up mitigation efforts.

“To keep the school communities safe until vaccination rates are high enough to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19,” AAP President Dr. Lee Beers said.

While opinions around masks and social distancing are still divided, lawmakers and experts agree other underlying issues are a huge concern. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) says there should be more attention on mental health.

“Many of our children are suffering from elevated levels of anxiety, depression, obesity and eating disorders or lagging in educational, social development resulting from the pandemic and school closures,” Griffith said.

“School psychologists are critical to overcome learning loss and address behavioral health issues effectively,” American Psychological Association CEO Arthur Evans said.

Pfizer reported its vaccine had a positive response in young children and lawmakers say FDA approval for children under 12, will help relieve a huge burden from kids and their parents.