It’s Time to Think About the Children

We are about to make a horrible mistake. In numerous parts of the country, grade-schoolers will be going back to school on a less than regular basis or worse, not at all. We are regularly being lectured by many of our elites; we must follow the science. Yet, some of the same people have willfully ignored it. President Trump is excoriated for merely pointing out our children need to be in school. Already our children have fallen behind by up to a half year. This loss falls most heavily on our most vulnerable. We’ve found the younger the student, the less well distance learning works. The American Academy of Pediatrics has pointed out how important it is for children to be in school. Not only for education but also for social development they want the kids in school. If we don’t get them in school this fall, they may never catch up. This would be a devastating loss for our children and for our country.

The odd thing is we are having this conversation at all. There never was a coherent reason for closing the schools in the first place. Sweden never closed its primary schools. Its neighbors, Denmark and Norway, have been re-opened for months. Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg has asked, “Was it necessary to close the schools?” She answered her own question, “Perhaps not.” In any case, they all opened without significant problems. A recent study showed schools in Finland closed schools between March 18 and May 13 while Sweden’s schools remained open. Despite that, the authors concluded, “Closing of schools had no measurable effect on the number of cases of COVID-19 among children.” It seems the worldwide consensus is the danger of keeping kids out of school far outweighs the risks of being in school. After all, the data shows children are much less affected by Covid-19 and spread it less.

Given the data, schools across the nation need to be formulating plans to open at least primary schools ASAP. There may be Covid-19 flareups in individual districts, but the goal has to be open all as soon and as much as possible. As in other countries, some employees, from teachers to bus drivers, may have pre-existing conditions that preclude their physical presence. If they can’t contribute remotely, they will need to be replaced. With double-digit unemployment, substitutes should be available. Any problems such as supplies and testing need to be identified so help can be delivered in a timely fashion. The Federal government could anticipate needs and be ready to backstop. The big thing is everyone needs to commit to getting the kids back in school. The assumption has to be we are going to be open in the fall.

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