I think we’re at a crucial point in this debate on school reopening right now. Case rates are dropping quickly, the surge is over, and people are starting to get vaccinated — though way too slowly of course. The public health community, including the CDC, have reached consensus that reopening schools is an urgent priority (instead of citing all my sources, I’m going to do more of a free-write here, so feel free to reach out if you want me to cite a source for anything I write here).
This is because the harms of prolonged school closure vastly outnumber the risk of COVID. It’s not only learning loss among public school kids (mostly in urban areas), though that will of course have long-term implications, especially for teenagers who really need to get decent grades to be able to get into college but who are flunking classes at astronomical rates. Remember also that they’ll have to compete against private school kids, who are having a much more normal school year.
More importantly, it’s our our kids’ mental health that’s the real emergency. A few weeks ago the New York Times published a devastating piece about the rise in student suicides in Las Vegas and how that got the superintendent to open schools. All over the country, mental health emergencies and hospital visits by kids are skyrocketing. The prolonged isolation, depression and anxiety that stem from learning by yourself on a computer all day are taking a massive toll on kids who haven’t seen the inside of a school for almost a year!
I just don’t know how anyone can sit by and think this is an acceptable state of affairs for a developed country — it just makes my blood boil to see how little this country cares about kids. All of Europe has done the right thing — schools are last to close, first to open. It’s simply not a political stance in Europe (as it is here) to say we need to reopen schools for the sake of kids wellbeing and emotional and academic development.
Initially puzzled by what you both meant by “FFS”, I see that when it comes to the example of keeping schools open during Covid19, it means “Forever Follow Sweden”.
The disastrous mistake of closing schools is binary (‘open or ‘closed’) & will enduringly stain the “lockdowners”! https://t.co/KeaRKJwtGv
— Michael Levitt (@MLevitt_NP2013) February 16, 2021