Back in mid-May, President Trump said, “I think you should absolutely open the schools. I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed.”
Adding that “It’s very important,” he hasn’t changed course to this day.
In fact, he’s now threatened to withhold federal dollars from schools that remain closed while also suggesting those dollars be tied to the students, not the unopened districts.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos agrees. As she’s put it: “Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open. Its’ a matter of how schools must reopen. They must be fully operational, and how that happens is best left to education and community leaders.”
Following suit is Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Asarwho who believes in-person classes can work if everyone acts with “good individual responsibility.”
As for the CDC’s current position, Director Robert Redfield believes the key to controlling the spread will be the wearing of masks in school and hand-washing
Among the organization’s current recommendations, subject to change:
- Students and teachers should wear masks whenever reasonable.
- Enforce social distancing.
- Keep desks six feet apart.
- Stagger schedules.
- Lunches eaten in classrooms, not cafeterias.
- Erect barriers between bathroom sinks.
Also in favor of returning to in-school teaching is the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s position: “While district leaders should work to mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in schools.”
The reasoning: a whole host of problems including the COVID slide’s 30% literacy loss and 50% to 100% math loss among students, child abuse, stress/anxiety, depression and, suicidal behavior in children and teens already in evidence.
Perhaps that explains Florida Governor DeSantis’s push for in-class learning, and his Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s recent order for public schools to open five days a week despite the surge.
Whatever the reasoning, many parents are all in. For instance, of the 22,000 surveyed in Florida’s Marion County, 70% indicated they’ll send their kids to school come August.
Bolstering such stands is USA Today’s Erin Richards’ reporting that, “New research has continued to suggest children are less susceptible to contracting the virus and getting sick from it compared to adults. And they may not pass it to adults as readily as was once thought.”