AP featured image
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

 

One of the most important discussions going on over the coronavirus is exactly when and how schools should be reopened this fall. This has become even more pressing as data comes in showing the physical and emotional harm children being done to children by continuing to keep them out of the classroom.

For their part, the teachers unions are content to get paid and sit at home. As I wrote last night, many are refusing to work, regardless of what the actual science says on the risks (see Teachers Unions Don’t Want to Teach This Fall, Here’s What Should Be Done). Some localities, such as Miami-Dade in Florida, are proclaiming they won’t reopen, again without seemingly any eye toward whether that’s a scientifically sound decision or not.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics has urged leaders to do everything they can to get students back in class. In their letter on the matter, they bolded one section, which read “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.” This urging is in response to the very real dangers students are facing being kept out of school.

In short, the issue opening schools has become perversely political. Given that, you’d hope that at least the executive agencies under President Trump could present a sane face, laying out guidelines which rely on evidence and not virtue signaling optics. But nope, the CDC Director went to Twitter to do the opposite, laying out guidelines that would be mistaken for an op to scare schools into not opening at all.

The science says several things about children and schools. Namely, that they are very weak carriers and rarely spread the disease, meaning they pose very little risk to adult teachers. We also know that if they are infected, their chances of complications or death are far below that of even the flu. Placing desks six feet apart is simply impossible for many schools with limited space. Closing communal spaces could cause further psychological harm to children and does not appear necessary. Studies have also shown that coronavirus spread is not high in regards to surface transmission. We don’t turn our schools into prisons over the flu and there’s no scientific reason to do so over the coronavirus.

In fact, logic would tell you that the safest place for children to be during the day is among peers who share the same qualities of near immunity (obviously, there will always be exceptions). In countries in Europe, schools have been reopened, and in some cases, never closed at all. What they’ve found is that schools provide no tangible addition to infections and that the risks appear to be exceedingly low for everyone involved. The 17 year old taking your drive through order is at far more risk than a teacher returning to the classroom. The former never stopped working while teachers unions, in some cases, are refusing to even discuss a return to doing their jobs.

Redfield apparently did not run these guidelines by the administration, as there’s now a walk back in progress, with the CDC supposedly looking to alter the guidelines. The problem is that the cat is already out of the bag. His rush has given an excuse to countless liberal school districts to stay closed, who are simply saying they can’t meet the ridiculous guidelines he set out.

I’ll end by noting that it was Redfield’s agency that screwed up testing early on. It’s also his agency that has never formed a coherent, science based approach to lock downs, nor reopening guidelines. Instead, they’ve operated as a scatter shot agency, latching onto whatever the hot theory is at the time. I understand why the President doesn’t want to seem like he’s politicizing these scientific bureaucracies, but he’s going to get bashed no matter what he does. Redfield should have been fired months ago after his first major screw-up, which likely exacerbated the outbreak greatly in the United States.

 

Bonchie
Front-page contributor for RedState. Visit my archives for more of my latest articles and help out by following me on Twitter @bonchieredstate.
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