The CDC released updated guidelines advising how to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic safely. I find the notion that a typical overcrowded public school can reopen safely during a pandemic to be ridiculous. An overcrowded classroom seems like the perfect breeding ground for a virus that, according to the CDC, “is spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, sing, breathe, cough, or sneeze.”
Kids do all these things. Sometimes they do all these things simultaneously.
I don’t understand why it’s safe for kids to go back to school when it hasn’t been safe since March 2020. What’s changed?
Delving into the CDC guidelines, I was concerned by much of what I read. For example:
Because children with the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread it to other children and to adults, it is important to take measures to minimize risk of spread in school settings.
Resuming and maintaining in-person learning may pose risks to children, teachers, school administrators, and other staff in the school environment, and their families and household members.
These two statements alone should make the idea of reopening schools now a complete nonstarter. COVID-19 is still a threat. It will continue to be a threat until enough of the population is properly vaccinated for COVID-19.
The idea that children can or will practice social distancing is absurd. You might as well tell cats to practice social distancing.
Kids going back to school will spend hours in close proximity to their classmates and teachers. Remember the CDC’s own 15 minutes/24-hour rule:
The CDC now defines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
It’s one thing not to adhere to social distancing at Walmart. Close contact is very brief. The accumulated time with infected people at Walmart probably would not amount to a total of 15 minutes.
Children in the classroom will spend hours in close contact with other children. If one child has COVID-19, they will infect their classmates. The infected children will then go home and infect their families. To believe otherwise is to ignore the science.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order to “reopen school doors as quickly as possible.” He should have also signed an executive order making the virus that causes COVID-19 non-contagious. Both executive orders would be equally meaningless.
We cannot rely upon executive orders to make the threat of COVID-19 go away.
I think the CDC is bowing to political pressure to make it seem as though reopening schools during a deadly pandemic is somehow feasible. It knows expecting children to adhere to stick social distancing rules in an already overcrowded classroom is impossible.