If you’ve been anywhere above ground in the last few weeks, you will know there is a great controversial and nationwide discussion going on surrounding the idea of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On one side, you have those that think schools should be opened, ready to take on the education and socialization that our children so desperately need. President Trump and his wife, Melania, are of this opinion and, as such, are doing everything possible to make that happen.
On the other side are those who believe that our children should still be kept at home, where parents can make sure they are not exposed to the sometimes-fatal virus. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rides this train.
The schools themselves have been caught somewhere in the middle, wanting to do the best thing for the children and understanding that isn’t an easy decision.
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Most, mere weeks from school starting back up, still have no idea what exactly their school year will look like. In fact, it almost seems as though the majority of them are waiting for someone to make a final decision that they can follow.
Luckily for them, one school board has.
With school beginning in just a couple coming weeks, the school board of Orange County, California, has made a decision: It will reopen as scheduled – without social distancing, distance learning, or masks.
The decision was made last week when it was put to a vote. And 4-1 voted in favor of beginning a somewhat ‘normal’ school year. This means that each school district within the county will be allowed to make its own ruling on reopening.
However, as KCBS-TV reported, the information the decision was based on suggests that if a school district “is unable or unwilling to reopen schools in a manner that resume a typical classroom environment and school atmosphere, parents should be allowed to send their children to another school district or charter school that will provide that preferred education.”
The board’s decision was based on a white paper that describes distance learning as an “utter failure.” It noted that in Los Angeles, for example, a whopping third of all students hadn’t even begun to log into their class for the first time by the end of May.
Part of this is noted to be the result of low-income students who may not have access to a computer or Wi-Fi. However, another part is simply that neither the students nor parents are held to any sort of accountability via online schooling.
As the New York Times noted in April, “Educators say that some students and their parents have dropped out of touch with schools completely – unavailable by phone, email, or any form of communication.”
Another reason for the school board’s somewhat surprising decision is that science has proved that school-age children are among the least likely to be infected of all age groups.
According to Dr. Scott Atlas, a Stanford neuroradiologist and Hoover Institution fellow, “science says that 99.97 percent of deaths in the United States are in people over 15, 99.9 are people over 24.”
Furthermore, it is noted that half of all teachers are younger than 41, and 82 percent are under 55. And most parents, given the fact that they have school-age children, are assumed to within the same age group.
Therefore, Atlas concludes that if you claim to believe in science, then you also have to believe that opening schools is safe, not only for our children but for most educators and parents too.
As Atlas says, “You either believe the science or not. You can’t insist you believe in science and then act contrary to science.”
This makes those like Nancy Pelosi, who decried Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s suggestion that children are at low risk as “malfeasance and dereliction of duty,” look like nothing more than the whimpering hypocrites they are.
Oh, but that is the very definition of a Democrat: saying one thing and doing another.
But the school board has one more reason for reopening school: to set an example. According to the white paper, “Among our greatest responsibilities as adults is our responsibility to model courage and persistence in the face of uncertainty and fear.”
We cannot let the negative Nancy’s of our life stand in the way of our children’s progress and futures all because of the fear of ‘what if.’ Instead, let us see to it that our children succeed.