It is easy for some people to make decisions without any facts, like the decision to open schools or keep them closed. People think we should keep the schools closed because of the risk to children, teachers, and employees. I have yet to hear anyone talk about the facts that need to be discussed before making this decision. I believe for many positive reasons the schools should be reopened.
When one asks people about opening schools, most of the time the concern expressed is for the children’s safety. How many children are in the K to 12 grades in public schools in the United States? The answer is 51 million. If we look at the 44 nations in Europe by population, America’s public school students alone would rank sixth in Europe.
Now, let’s turn to the impact of COVID-19 on school-aged children, ages 5 to 17. According to Statista, as of June 13, 2020, the number of cases of COVID-19 is 3.5 per 100,000 students in that age group. That means a total of 1,785 students have been diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the American Council on Science and Health, the recorded number of deaths in the age group ages 5 to 14 is 13.
Opening the schools based on the available data would suggest we are suspending a full educational experience to protect about 13 student lives. If we annualize this death rate over 12 months, then the number jumps to 39. The Washington Post recently reported children and teenagers are only half as likely to get infected with the coronavirus as are adults age 20 and older. Young children usually don’t develop clinical symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Consider the idea that children can spread the COVID-19 to their teachers and staff? One study by the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) has said data indicates that “children are unlikely to be primary source cases” for COVID-19.
Let us turn to a more complicated subject: we are talking about shutting down a school system based on the annual potential of saving about 39 student lives. If we are so concerned about protecting children’s lives, what are we doing about the 3,000 children killed by gunfire each year? Let’s make that 5,800 children under the age of 17 actually shot each year? We don’t shut down the schools in Atlanta, Chicago, or New York City because children are being shot. Let me be clear I believe that all lives matter regardless of the cause of death.
The Education Trust asked parents about their children being out of school. Here are the results of some of their answers:
· Nearly 9 in 10 parents are worried about their children falling behind academically due to coronavirus-related school closures. This ranked higher than financial or socioemotional concerns.
· Eight in 10 parents say their child(ren) are experiencing heightened stress levels.
Best Colleges reports that:
Seventy-eight percent of households with high school or college students report educational disruptions from COVID-19.
Over 8 in 10 students experiencing these disruptions report increased stress.
Almost 44% of students worry about their ability to enroll or stay enrolled in college.
This same worry is shared disproportionately among respondents identifying as black, Hispanic, or other.
The bottom line is that by closing the schools at all levels, we have substantially increased students’ stress levels. The longer we keep the schools closed, I believe the greater the risk of economic opportunity for this generation now in school. If one takes children away from their friends by making them more isolated, the chance of anxiety, depression, or suicide is increased.
The longer we keep children out of school, the greater the chance we will lose this generation, and this generation will then become dependent upon us to take care of them as they fail. Watch what happens when you tell your child that they are going back to school. If done soon, we will see excitement and joy, but the longer we go before bringing them together, the joy will disappear and never return.
Save our children and open the schools.
Dan Perkins is a published author of 4 novels on nuclear and biological terrorism against the United States and is a current events commentator for over 20+ news blogs. He recently has had commentaries posted on Medium and Conservative Truth, among others. He appears on radio and TV regularly many times a month. Dan’s newest show is called “America’s Cannabis Conversation,” on the W420radionetwork.com. His latest entrance in communications is his first Pod Cast called “What’s on My Mind?” This can be heard on SoundCloud; just look for the name of the show or Dan Perkins. More information on Perkins can be found on his web site: danperkins.guru