By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

School reopenings have become the next major political football in America, and the opening of Chicago Public Schools is no exception. The Chicago Teachers Union says they don’t want in-school teaching and prefer to maintain online learning, while the school district officials are planning for a hybrid opening

But how risky is it really for CPS children to return to school? What are the chances of students catching and spreading the virus? What are the chances of them bringing it home? And how risky is a reopening for teachers?

Here are seven facts Chicago parents and teachers should know:

1. Only two Chicago children aged 17 and younger have died from COVID-19 since the virus first appeared, according to the city of Chicago’s latest coronavirus data. While every death is a tragedy, fortunately Chicago’s children haven’t fallen victim to COVID-19.

2. CPS children face more risk from suicide, accidents and gun deaths. Since March 1, the approximate “start” of the coronavirus, nearly 100 Chicago children under the age of 19 have died from causes other than COVID. Four from suicide. Twelve from car- or drug-related accidents. And an outrageous 46 have died from gun violence.

3. One nationwide estimate of the infection fatality rate for children is just 0.004 percent. The Women’s Institute for Independent Social Enquiry says nationwide there have been 317,711 reported cases of children with COVID-19, with 805 intensive care hospitalizations and 77 deaths. However, they estimate there are 1.9 million children infected when taking into account undetected cases. That results in a fatality rate of 0.004 percent.

The actual fatality rate could be even lower once antibody testing can capture just how many children have actually been infected by the virus. 

4. More than three-quarters of teachers in CPS are under the age of 50. And 60 percent are under the age of 40. That means as a group they’re at far less risk of suffering death from COVID-19. That’s particularly true when comorbidities are taken into account (next section).

In total, 231 Chicago adults under the age of 50 have died from COVID since March. There are over 34,000 known cases in that age group, but the real number of people infected is certainly far larger. The CDC’s best estimates assume there are 10 times more undetected cases of COVID-19 than detected. Based on their estimate, the group fatality rate for those adults younger than 50 is at 0.064 percent.

5. The risk for teachers is even lower: More than 92 percent of Chicago COVID-19 victims had pre-existing conditions. Age alone should not be the concern for teachers since pre-existing conditions are the determining factor in COVID-19 deaths. Chicago city data shows that over 92 percent of COVID-19 victims in Chicago suffered from one or more comorbidities, i.e., hypertension, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. We’ve provided a full list of Chicago’s COVID-19 deaths and their comorbidities here. The source is the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Taking comorbidities into account means even fewer teachers are targets of the virus.

For sure teachers with pre-existing conditions will need to consider the risk to themselves and others, but what we know of the virus so far can help mitigate those risks. Limiting activities that require close student/teacher contact, keeping students together in teaching groups, making use of schools’ most-open spaces like gyms – all are sensible ideas. Older students can practice better hygiene and social distancing while younger students, as shown below, catch and transmit the virus at very low rates.

For older teachers and/or those with pre-existing conditions, there is still the option of teaching online for those who need it or even early retirement, if necessary. 

6. Students, particularly young children, are low vectors for the virus

Though much more needs to be learned about the interaction of COVID-19 with children, and there is some conflicting evidence, most studies are demonstrating the virus has a limited impact.

For example, Science magazine recently reported “several studies have found that overall, people under age 18 are between one-third and one-half as likely as adults to contract the virus, and the risk appears lowest for the youngest children.”

More surprisingly, it appears parents should be more concerned about giving COVID to their children instead of worrying that children will bring the virus home with them.

The Netherland’s health ministry advises that “Data from the Netherlands also confirms the current understanding: that children play a minor role in the spread of the novel coronavirus. The virus is mainly spread between adults and from adult family members to children. The spread of COVID-19 among children or from children to adults is less common.”

And a recent rapid literature review of pediatric COVID studies concluded:

“Low case numbers in children suggest a more limited role than was initially feared. Contact tracing data from Asia, the USA, Europe and Israel have all demonstrated a significantly lower attack rate in children than adults, including testing of asymptomatic household contacts on both PCR and serology. Coupled with low case numbers would suggest that children are less likely to acquire the disease…Limited data on positive cases in schools have not demonstrated significant transmission, except within adolescent populations. Studies of younger children in schools have found low rates of transmission, but with very low case numbers.”

– Boast A, Munro A, Goldstein H. An evidence summary of Paediatric COVID-19 literature, Don’t Forget the Bubbles, 2020.

7. Chicago COVID-19 deaths have collapsed to an average of just 2 a day over the last week.

Once a hotspot nationally, Chicago deaths have collapsed from nearly 50 a day in early May to about 2 a day in the last week. The city is at a level consistent with many European countries when they began to successfully reopen schools.

In fact, Chicago and New York City are now the only two major cities in the country that have an average daily infection rate of less than 5 percent – epidemiologists’ generally-accepted public health threshold for keeping COVID-10 under control.

*************

COVID-19 is scary, but until and only if the virus changes targets, kids are more at risk from violence, accidents and from not being in school. 

Keeping schools shut has had an increasingly negative impact on children’s lives. More and more evidence shows that children missing school is leading to isolation, anxiety, the loss of critical development time, and not to mention, lost instructional time – remote learning didn’t work. There’s also the increased risk of unreported child abuse and teen suicide.

Younger children in particular are ill-served by remote learning, according to a new report issued by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine that recommends students return to the classroom. That report echoes the opinion of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends that “all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

The science and data of COVID-19 in Chicago agree.

Read more about COVID-19’s impact on Chicago

Download 90 percent of COVID-19 victims in Chicago had comorbidities

64 Comments
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Mama Knows
2 months ago

It’s really up to parents and legal guardians to decide, not government, school boards, teacher unions, scientists, online experts, CDC, FDA or anything/anyone else imaginable. None of those entities created or adopted children.

Last edited 2 months ago by Mama Knows
Governor of Alderaan
2 months ago

The only reason teachers want to be out of school is so they can be taxpayer-funded Democrat volunteers and rioters

Tom Paine's Ghost
2 months ago

There is one solution : Bust the Chicago teachers Union. CTU is the lowest of public sector union scum. They steal from the parents while hiding behind their children..

With Wuhan Virus CTU seeks the usual: No work for maximum pay.

Bust this union

2 months ago

No cases of transmission of COVID from student to teacher, worldwide.

Bill
2 months ago

2. CPS children face more risk from suicide, accidents and gun deaths. 

This fact alone justifies the permanent shuttering of these horror houses.

It is time for radical change! Let us do away with with the CPS, CTU, NEA and and all the rest of the Red for Ed propaganda machine!!

Richard Poo Millersky
2 months ago
Reply to  Bill

There’s other risks too including rape, murder, bullying, fighting, various forms of ethnic hate and racism (not just White on Black), building code violations, mold, sanitation, rats, mice, roaches, bedbugs, lice and more. Not every school has all of these items, but a lot do. ☹️😭

RS
3 months ago

😂 Oh please, “Dr. Covid.” For you to imply you’re some kind of well-rounded expert on this pandemic and what teachers and students need in order to stay safe is such a joke. You’re suffering from severe tunnel vision worsened by a total lack of regard for humanity and human life. I won’t bother to post anymore because you are clearly an ignorant buffoon, but I just wanted to let you know that I see what kind of person you are, and I feel really bad for you.

Last edited 3 months ago by RS
Dr. Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  RS

TROLL…find a job.or take your meds.

Stop Trolls
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Covid

You a troll.

Tom Paine's Ghost
2 months ago
Reply to  Stop Trolls

Very articulate. Don’t you mean: “You are a troll” or perhaps “You’re a troll”? I know that proper conjugation and the apostrophe can be a bit confusing but that’s OK. You appear to be a product of a CTU education so it’s to be expected.

Mama Knows
2 months ago

You aren’t that articulate, honey child.

2 months ago
Reply to  RS

Thank you for the clarity. The best thing the Left does when they cant win an argument is as hominem attacks. Demonization is not victory.

Dr. Covid
3 months ago

Here are some useful links to those who are willing to learn more about the importance of live, in-person class/school opening; you might find this to be helpful in your decision making.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/reopening-schools.html
https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767982
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/schools-reopening-coronavirus/2020/07/10/865fb3e6-c122-11ea-8908-68a2b9eae9e0_story.html
https://www.foxnews.com/media/dr-atlas-kids-back-school-distance-learning-failure
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/health/coronavirus-schools-reopening.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

I am getting tired of explaining things to people who are not even willing to listen or read.

For those who are alarmists, scaremongers, and the like, those who would like to bring their politics into this discussion might go somewhere else and stop being a troll.

Stop Trolls
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Covid

You a troll and bully.

Dr. Covid
2 months ago
Reply to  Stop Trolls

I must learn not to be an online bully. I am sorry. I beg forgiveness.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dr. Covid
Dr.Covid
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Covid

Hey Troll, don’t use my name!
Can you be man enough to reply with ur own pseudoname or use ur brain to think of a name or be more creative?

To AdMiN, pls check this leftist troll with no dignity.

To the Fake Dr. Covid account, ” You cannot Cancel me”. I am not one of your minions who will apologize for anything.

Mama Knows
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr.Covid

You’re the leftist, sweetie.

Dr.Covid
2 months ago
Reply to  Mama Knows

I can’t stop coughing. *cough cough*

Last edited 2 months ago by Dr.Covid
RS
3 months ago

And, as to the comment that children don’t spread it, science doesn’t necessarily support that….
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/18/health/coronavirus-children-schools.html

Last edited 3 months ago by RS
RS
3 months ago

NO other country has been stupid enough to push students and teachers into an in-person environment with as much active spreading as we have here. Everything that makes school what it is CANNOT happen. No interaction, no proximity, no group work, no socialization, masks all day, and the list goes on. This will be traumatic for so many children! We have a viable option in remote learning where instructional time will be much greater than spending the day cleaning, washing hands, and trying to force kids to keep masks on. This article is just another pathetic example of politics being… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by RS
3 months ago

WHAT ABOUT SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

3 months ago

My name is Val and I have an autistic child that takes the school bus and no one has yet to address the special needs kids! Isn’t autism an underlying condition??? What are they going to do about all special needs children?

Mike
3 months ago
Reply to  Valerie Martin

If you believe your child will not receive the accommodations to which they are entitled (as stipulated in the IEP or otherwise) contact the ACLJ to see if they can be of assistance.

https://aclj.org/get-legal-help/get-our-legal-help

The ACLJ has various resources on their website about school re-opening during COVID-19.

A common requirement for autistic children is socialization and it’s hard to imagine that satisfactory socialization progress for an autistic child can be accomplished via Zoom or any online method.

RB
3 months ago

If u r being paid to write this nonsense, u sh return tha money. March 16th, the schools in Florida shuttered for spring break and they never looked back. Ur dreaming if u think this is evidence of children’s resistence…sort of like saying climate change is proven to be man-made based on all of the historical data. Have u ever seen an elementary school full of tha flu???? And btw….when on earth do children ever keep their hands to themselves?????? EVER?? Dont b absurd. Perhaps they sh all b issued plastic bubbles. Furthermore…what do u think the motivation of the… Read more »

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  RB

Take some deep breaths and try to relax.

“Get ur facts straight…or just get some facts”

I 👍

teach2sing
3 months ago

Since children in Chicago have been sheltering (mostly) since March 16, how do we know exactly how COVID-19 will affect them? There have been other school districts that have gone back recently and reported many cases popping up. That’s also not forget that once school is open it will not look anything like what it looked like before. Best practices for teachers cannot happen when students cannot interact with each other, the teacher cannot get close to each student and the students are basically locked down in one room for the entire day. This is not a great recipe for… Read more »

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  teach2sing

You mentioned. “There have been other school districts that have gone back recently and reported many cases popping up.” Can you be more specific? Is this in Illinois? Or in America? Best practices for teachers are not to simply lock the students in the room but be able to interact with students at a safe distance and by following the guidelines that were designed by the local school board or as suggested by CDC. Please take time to READ, and educate yourself instead of worrying. Teachers should inspire students and help to bring back normalcy in this time of crisis;… Read more »

Life is satire
3 months ago
Reply to  Dr.Covid

Other countries returning to school have 30-50 cases a day for their entire country.

Richard Poo Millersky
3 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Covid

I read it. I can’t say if what works there will work here or not. Europeans and Americans are different, in so many ways. 🤔

When one kid becomes sick or dies from school COVID-19, lawsuits will fly like crazy. ☹️

We know this will be especially true, in Black and LatinX, where “many” parents will claim COVID-19 kid illnesses and/or pull their kids out. I think, this is what school boards are trying to avoid, but can’t speak about publicly. 😑

Richard Poo Millersky
3 months ago

Science and data change, sometimes almost daily. Jay Bob used science and data to shut down Illinois. 😑

We’re discussing sending kids to school, where they’re restricted from interacting with each other and teachers. 😑

Dr.Covid
3 months ago

There may be some restrictions on certain behavior or mobility but there’s more into having an in-person classes.
Do some readings and let science work for you.😉😇Reopened schools in Europe and Asia have largely avoided coronavirus outbreaks. They have lessons for the U.S. – The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/schools-reopening-coronavirus/2020/07/10/865fb3e6-c122-11ea-8908-68a2b9eae9e0_story.html

Poor Taxpayer
3 months ago

Who Cares about the safety of children? Not Government.
All that counts is that teachers get paid, benefits and huge pensions at young ages.
Screw the honest hard working taxpayer, they do not count or do their children.
There is not education in Chicago Schools, only excuses.

Richard Poo Millersky
3 months ago

We can’t see, taste, smell or hear this or any virus. So yes, people are scared. 😑

The world somehow survived TB, Polio and other diseases, without masks and restrictions. 😑

I wonder, if sending kids to school now somehow frightens them in more ways than one, yet to be seen. 😮

Maggie
3 months ago

This only looks at deaths, yet we know there is much more to COVID. It isn’t a virus with a binary set of outcomes–live and everything is fine, or die. Long lasting health consequences are much more likely, yet often get left out of the discussion.

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  Maggie

“Long-lasting health consequences are much more likely” is not accurate.
Asymptomatic and full recovery is more likely.

Patience
3 months ago

You didnt discuss how kids go home to their parents, their families, or how they dont really understand the grvaity of the situation to follow protocols… I wonder why

Sherry
3 months ago
Reply to  John Klingner

Since the author says the virus is spread mainly among adults and from adult family members, including to their children. Then how is it safe? Teachers are adults and can spread to one another. Those teachers go home and can spread to their family members. The author has no way of knowing who has underlying conditions or the conditions of the family members. Also, classrooms are like families. Teachers and students spend more time together per week than they do with family. Does that mean the spread from teacher to student becomes greater? Leading those students to go home and… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Sherry
Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  Patience

Read the whole article. If you are familiar with research, you should realize that your argument may sound valid, but in the end, what is important is the outcome.

DylanSnyder
3 months ago

Nobody should return to school.

Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  DylanSnyder

Dylan, we like dissenting opinions here but you are not helping your case by routinely just writing the first few things that come into your head. You are just filling up space with empty words that add no understanding.

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  DylanSnyder

It looks like you made that decision long time ago.

Barbara Costas
3 months ago
Reply to  Dr.Covid

I have a feeling Dylan is around 13 years old, a sadly predictable example of the student who has been taught WHAT to think, not HOW to think.

Doly
3 months ago

Sure, kids aren’t at much risk. But their parents, grandparents and teachers definitely have a bigger risk, and this is an infectious disease. And the fact that you probably won’t even know if the kid got infected or not, because they often don’t have any symptoms, doesn’t make it any easier.

Jean
3 months ago

As a teacher in CPS, this article is somewhat reassuring, even if I’m in the risk group.

I worry more for the children. Even one death of a child is unacceptable.

DantheMan
3 months ago
Reply to  Jean

Thank you Jean for making my point for me. You saw 2 deaths and then your liberal brain shut down unable to reason thru any other facts. By your standards, the schools will never be open because we haven’t cured cancer. You do know that children get cancer don’t you, and it’s more than 2 in Illinois. You wouldn’t last a day in the private sector.

Patience
3 months ago
Reply to  DantheMan

Or maybe she understands the fact that kids go home to their families and possibly give it to them, and then their parents go to work and spread it, so do the teachers and so on. The spread is not limited to children and teachers because they’re not the only people each have to be around

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  Patience

Pls.read the whole article and include the recommendations of the American Pediatric Association to reopen school. Thank you.

3 months ago
Reply to  DantheMan

That is your rebuttal ..cancer? If their was a chance that i could contract or spread cancer. You better believe i would show up! Try an better example if you really want to make a case.

S.kelly
3 months ago
Reply to  Jean

I am a nurse and I am taking precaution but what if I get sick infect my daughter and then she goes to school and infect others. They also have to consider families of children who are front line workers. I do t think it is a good idea

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  S.kelly

If you have that concern then do full online option for your daughter.

There should be options for parents and students. As a health worker you should also follow the advice of experts and the American Pediatric Association, support the reopening of the schools. Unfortunately, your fear is not supported by recent evidence.

3 months ago
Reply to  Dr.Covid

So we should have many options for parents…right? That would be amazing if everyone was wealthy and all schools were treated fairly. You seem to have a very narrow outlook.

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  Jason

The disadvantage are the ones who need more options. Decency aside,Yes. I am wealthy and knowledgeable at least on this topic. Not perfect, like you. ✌️

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  Jean

Pls STOP using our CHILDREN as an excuse. We do the parenting , you do your job as an educator. If you are afraid for your health, you were given an option to do online. You should encourage the majority of teachers who are young and healthy to report back to work. Or Refund the state and parents so we can just enroll to the private schools. Promote science and follow the advice of the American Pediatric Association to reopen the schools.

DylanSnyder
3 months ago

I support the teachers who care about kids.

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  DylanSnyder

I agree with you! Teachers should go back to work and show that they really care for their students. They should not let the iPads,google class and Zoom conference to replace them. Real education is more than just academics.

Mark Felt
3 months ago

It’s easier for the teachers to do distance learning a couple of hours every day, pass everyone regardless of results and collect a paycheck for it…..so that is what they will do and everyone will declare it a success and a model for the future.

S and P 500
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Felt

Check out what happened at the Board meeting in Philly. Suddenly the teachers aren’t worried about inequalities or “gaps in learning”.

https://thenotebook.org/articles/2020/07/24/district-leaders-face-united-opposition/

Rich
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Felt

Trust me, distance teaching is MUCH harder than in-person teaching. And the entire education community is focused on how to do this better and have more accountability for students. My district will now mark students absent if they don’t participate daily. Yes, that opens up a huge discussion about equity that needs to be addressed, but it will not be like the spring. I appreciate that this discussion is including research and data, but my concern is that there is also data from South Korea, Israel, Germany, and others that shows significant spreading in schools. My feeling is that we… Read more »

Dr.Covid
3 months ago
Reply to  Rich

Reopened schools in Europe and Asia have largely avoided coronavirus outbreaks. They have lessons for the U.S. – The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/schools-reopening-coronavirus/2020/07/10/865fb3e6-c122-11ea-8908-68a2b9eae9e0_story.html

Poor Taxpayer
3 months ago

Why risk a life?
There is no education in the Chicago School System.
Only thing you learn is how to join a Gang and drop out.

DantheMan
3 months ago

The liberal parent will see the 2 deaths and won’t be capable of further analysis. Show them all the graphs and they won’t understand. They will simply say, “Look, it killed 2 kids. It’s not safe.”