Now that we are in the middle of summer, education has taken a back seat to stay-at-home vacations and precarious summer jobs, but as we edge closer to the start of the school year, it is about time that we start to contemplate whether we make the brave choice to open the classrooms back up or whether we continue with the questionably safe choice of an isolated school year online.
I will be the first one to admit that while neither choice is clear, we should certainly protect those who are the most vulnerable; however, just who that is and how we do that is exactly what is in contention.
As of July 7th, more than 40% of all U.S. deaths are connected to nursing homes making elder citizens by far the most vulnerable group in America. In fact, according to data from Europe, the death rate for people over 75 is a staggering almost 80%.
Standing antithetical to this are children, in fact, according to a survey of recent literature, there currently isn’t a single record of a child under 10 transmitting COVID-19 to anyone else. Furthermore, researchers in Iceland- one of the few countries that has conducted mass screening- recently found no infections in the 848 children under the age of 10 that they screened, further pushing the narrative that children are greatly protected from this virus.
If this is the case, then why not open schools? Why act like we would be the only country to do so? We need to follow the lead put in front of us by Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands. If we don’t, then we risk once again having to reconcile with the poor choices that we make today.
Just as many governors were foolhardy in their choice of forcing COVID-19 positive senior citizens back into their nursing homes prematurely or even at all, now we are risking hurting the least vulnerable in the most rash and unintended way possible. .
It is ignorant to suggest that children and young adults can get a full educational experience through a laptop screen or that they can retain the same amount of information as when they are taught in person. We know this from past experience. Moreover, how can we justify the sometimes greater dangers that we are submitting these kids to, such as having to spend more time in an abusive household or simply having to spend more time in a dangerous neighborhood surrounded by questionable influences. How can we reconcile with letting these billion dollar endowment universities extort their students with a subpar education. How can we allow our burgeoning students to potentially fall-back during their most fundamental years of growth.
Even as more research is published everyday, we must allow our approach to change, but as of now, we need to make the most intelligent and well-thought out choice that benefits the most people and is backed up by science; right now, that choice is opening back up the schools this coming fall.