July 14, 2020
Ignore the short-term inconveniences.
There is currently debate about whether schools should reopen physically for the coming academic year. My question is why? There are so many reasons against sending our kids out to intermingle for seven to eight hours a day, and most of them are related to the fact that they might die if we do so.
Yes, having your kids home all the time is hard. Yes, having more responsibility for them sticking to their studies is exhausting. And they’re getting in your way while you are trying to work from home. I don’t believe most parents, even at their most exasperated, would rank the safety of their child beneath their own convenience. I think that parents want their kids to have normalcy, and socialization, and many may feel their child learns better in a group setting than they do studying mainly on their own. But is it worth the risk? When potentially one outbreak at a school could affect thousands of families in that district?
It’s hard to trust that a child young enough to pick their nose in public can be counted on to adhere to proper mask and hand-washing protocols. While these tasks seem more feasible for older children, the risks still seem to outweigh the benefit. Let’s be honest, a significant portion of adults haven’t yet managed to master the fine art of wearing a mask. And unlike an adult, a sick child cannot just hole up by themselves for two weeks. They will need care, even with a mild case, and care equals contact. In many cases, one sick child will infect their entire household.
The chain reaction that could follow has to be taken into consideration. And yes, this take is about worst-case scenarios. But we have to take a look at situations where people looked COVID-19 right in the eye and assumed the best. Those situations are not ending well. People will continue to die from coronavirus for the foreseeable future. This includes children. It is our duty to minimize the potential spread in every way we can, no matter how small. And reopening schools is not a small thing. Let’s keep kids home and safe. They will still learn. They will socialize in new ways. They will not be contributing en masse to the spread of the virus throughout entire communities. At this stage, continued remote learning is the only ethical option.