While school openings have become heavily politicized in recent weeks, the good news is that more experts on all sides agree schools should strive to reopen and stay open. Here are some big names that announced support just last week:
1. The CDC’s director Dr. Robert Redfield Says Data Supports Face-to-Face Learning in Schools. He told reporters that schools are among the safest places for children during the pandemic. “There is extensive data” that “confirms…K-12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning and they can do it safely and they can do it responsibly.”
2. UNICEF: A six-point plan to protect our children: Global coordination is urgently needed to prevent the COVID-19 crisis from becoming a child-rights crisis. In its first comprehensive assessment of the pandemic’s effects, the UN agency reported:
- “There is strong evidence that, with basic safety measures in place, the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them.”
- “Schools are not a main driver of community transmission, and children are more likely to get the virus outside of school settings.”
- “UNICEF asks governments and our partners to: Prioritize the reopening of schools: Take all measures possible to reopen schools safely and keep them open.”
3. New York Times Editorial Board: Keep Schools Open, New York “Ending in-person instruction right now would be a mistake, given the evidence of how little the virus has spread there so far and the devastating consequences that would follow for academic progress as well as for working parents like subway operators and nurses.”
4. Chicago Public Schools: CPS to start in-person learning in January; CTU responds “The consequences here are not theoretical. Research tells us that if we do not act with urgency, we will be in danger of losing an entire generation of students…We have a moral responsibility to do everything possible to bring our children back into the classroom. Our students are hurting right now, especially our most vulnerable students,” said Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade.
The data cited by the sources above confirms that children are at exceedingly low risk from COVID-19. The CDC estimates COVID’s infection survival rate for those under the age of 20 is 99.997%. And the survival rate for the middle-aged – the group most likely to be teachers – is also a very high 99.980%.
There’s no denying that this is a particularly difficult time in Illinois. Fortunately, the data continues to show that schools are a safe place for students and teachers when effective social distancing and precautions are taken.
Read more about Illinois and the COVID crisis: