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.
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.