Way ahead of the curve, Rhode Island’s Governor Gina Raimondo took a stand for kids and in-person schooling way back in June and got schools reopened on September 14. As she put it:
** “Every day a child is out of school is a problem for that child.”
** “To those of you who are throwing in the towel on our kids and going virtual, I think it is a shame. You’re letting the children down, and I don’t see any reason for it.”
** “To the superintendents out there who’ve just decided to go virtual, I want you to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you can try a little harder.”
** “This is how I analyzed it, right, wrong, or indifferent. If you look at the risk that children who go virtual will be left behind—get behind academically, suffer from severe mental health issues, suffer from food insecurity, suffer from abuse and neglect—it’s a 100% certainly… So, yeah, I came out aggressively.”
It amounted to “a herculean task” that included proper ventilation, transportation plans, enforcement of mask wearing and social distancing, and other safety precautions and she pulled it off.
In February 2021, the CDC changed course and according to the executive summary of its 35-page document: “It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services.”
And now comes “Loosen Rules on Reopening Schools” by Comer Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Tara O. Anderson; UC-San Francisco’s Dr. Monica Ghandi, UC-Davis’s Dr. Tracy Beth Hoeg, and Comer Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Daniel Johnson.
*** “Children are not at significant risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19.”
*** “COVID-19 deaths in children and adolescents are magnitudes smaller than deaths from suicide, some now driven by school closures.”
*** “Viral spread is minimal in schools with appropriate safety precautions, even in communities with a high disease prevalence.”
*** “No science supports mandating 6-feet of distance with children wearing masks. A 6-foot distance between students creates space constraints for schools to open in entirety. There is data supporting at least 3-foot distances.”
*** “School closures come with long-term individual and societal costs. Many children cannot effectively learn, group, engage, socialize, be active, eat healthy food, or get support until schools physically reopen. Children with special needs and from disadvantaged backgrounds are, in general, paying the biggest price.”
Their bottom line: “Keeping schools closed or even partially closed, based on what we know now is unwarranted, is harming children, and has become a human rights issue.”
Still, countless schools remain shuttered, either fully or partially, even now as another spring approaches. ~ Carol