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One of the wildest thing about the coronavirus outbreak has been the media’s obsession with sharing the most dire forecast out there from any “expert.” This share the worst fear porn mantra has particularly been in effect when it comes to any “expert” doctor or scientist predicting doom and gloom. Without fail the worst prediction receives the vast majority of the headlines in this country.
Which is why I’m still stunned that the recommendation kids should go back to school by the American Association of Pediatricians — a group made up of 67,000 pediatricians across the country — has received a pinprick of the attention it deserves.
The AAP’s position is as follows: “The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
Their recommendation continues, “The importance of in-person learning is well documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Length time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.”
This should close the door on any argument against children not being in school this fall. We’re talking about a huge group of children’s doctors, 67,000 doctors across the country whose recommendations tend to be extremely conservative when it comes to the health and safety of kids, that looked at all the data and told you what I’ve been saying for months — there is almost no risk to children from the coronavirus.
Even the initial decision to shut down schools in the first place, looked at in retrospect with the data we have today, makes zero sense. The school shutdown only made sense if we had a 1918 flu-like outbreak that evenly affected all ages. But that’s not what we have here. Kids are barely impacted by the coronavirus. There is no evidence that shutting down schools decreased the spread of the virus to a significant degree.
In fat, children are 20x as likely to die of the seasonal flu as they are of the coronavirus. Study after study has proven children are not vectors for the spread of the disease, either among themselves or in transmitting it to adults. Which is why teachers bear minimal risk from the virus. In fact, all of the child care facilities that have remained open throughout this entire mess have had almost zero outbreaks in the entire country. This is just not a complicated issue at all. In fact, you can watch Senator Rand Paul, another doctor, lay out all of these facts yourself if you are so inclined.
You can also go read the head of the AAP respond to all the fear porn coronabro questions you could possibly come up with in this New York Times article here.
Look, as a parent of three kids ages 12, 9 and 5, I completely understand the fear of parents across the country when it comes to their kids. Just like you I care about my kids, and their health, more than anything in the world. I’ve got a rising seventh grader, a rising fourth grader and a rising kindergartener. My kids have been out of school since early March and while we’ve done our best to keep them busy our public schools did an awful job of online school work and there’s zero doubt their learning slipped over the past several months compared to what they would have learned in their schools.
And our kids are comparatively advantaged. They have plenty of food, parents who can work from home, access to reliable Internet access and iPads, you name it, they have all the advantages possible for today’s at home and online learning environments. Millions of kids across the country don’t have any of these things.
If you care about equal access to education or evening the playing field for all kids, it’s imperative that schools are open for the fall. That’s why I don’t see this as a remotely partisan issue, the data is just crystal clear: there is no reason whatsoever to keep kids out of school this fall.
And this goes for kids of all ages, by the way.
Kids from kindergarten to college all need to be back in school, the data is clear on that.
There’s zero rational argument to the contrary. This shouldn’t be partisan or political, kids all need to be back in school this fall.
So share this article widely to help combat the fear porn and hopefully influence your school board to make the educated and smart decision: all schools need to be open for in person instruction this fall.
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
thanks for your bravery clay. wish more people out there were not afraid to say what they think
With all due respect, I think you just authored a “dog bites man” piece. It would have been a story if the doctors said DON’T go back to school. It’s like the docs saying “sunshine is good for you”. We all know kids have to go back, from K thru 16 and even more than that; night school for adults trying to get undergrad and advanced degrees also.
The argument that needs to be highlighted is the bureaucracy being moved to get schools ready. All I’ve heard is the administrators wringing their hands, “oh woe is me”. Tick, tock everybody.
Clay, I know you’ve been to parent teacher nights like a lot of us have over the years. You’ve seen how it’s almost impossible to get an educator to commit to anything at those meetings, so you can imagine what it’s like at the admin level when they meet to discuss school stuff.
Doesn’t matter what WE THE PEOPLE think about spacing and washing hands and different hallways for student traffic patterns and how much is enough.
I just read that in NYS some Albany types are saying that in the “big yellows”…the 66-seaters, the plan is to alternate rows and alternate sides of the aisle. Someone said they’d need 2x the buses for that to work and there ain’t 2x the buses available. A big yellow would only be able to transport approx. 10 students per trip if that plan was adopted. If you think that’s crazy, how about when the students actually get inside the school building? So the pediatric association says, “sure, kids need to go back to school”…okay.
Thanks, Clay, for everything you’re doing to take Outkick to the next level, most especially in getting Jason to partner with you.