One of the first states hit by COVID-19 (some would say, the first) was Washington. It, along with California and New York, formed the epicenter, the focus of the initial invasion of the deadly virus.
But Washington state did a terrific job containing the virus. Perhaps one of the reasons was quick action by state government, including closing public schools very early.
As for how COVID-19 affects, and transmits, through school students — there’s a lot still to be learned. But we do know that all ages can get it, and all ages can transmit it to others. We know that school brings massive numbers together, and exposes them to each other in settings that make the spread of infection far too likely. We know that it can be especially pernicious, because so many are asymptomatic and can spread the disease like wildfire, without even knowing it.
Re-opening schools exposes every child to every other child. That in turn, expsoses every member of each child’s immediate family. That’s most of the population. My opinion: the level of exposure is far too great, the risk is far too high, it is not possible at this time to re-open schools safely.
But you don’t have to agree with me, to worry about the fact that nobody is even talking about it. We all “assume” schools are re-opening, but I’ve heard nothing about plans to make testing available — training for staff to recognize symptoms — protective measures (will there be masks? social distancing?) — will all be required to attend, or given the option?
Will teachers (and other staff) have no choice other than “risk yourself or lose your job”?
What if they have at-risk family members? Elderly parents, a spouse with diabetes or cancer, or another high-risk group: a newborn baby. Is it “risk your entire family or lose your job”?
Nobody is even talking about this. School starts in about a month? Start the conversation. Not just on blogs, facebook/twitter/instragram etc. Write that letter to the editor of the local paper. Send that letter/email (handwritten letters work best) to government officials. Please do it soon.
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