According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not opening schools for in-person classes in the fall might bring about severe consequences to children. CDC stated as much in its guidance on Friday.
New CDC Guidance
The CDC’s new guidance now aligns with the official opinion of Trump’s administration and with the recommendations made by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding the safety of in-person schooling during the pandemic.
“The best available evidence from countries that have opened schools indicates that COVID-19 poses low risks to school-aged children, at least in areas with low community transmission, and suggests that children are unlikely to be major drivers of the spread of the virus,” concludes the CDC’s guidance. “Reopening schools creates an opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets — our children — while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff, and all their families.”
Parents: You may have questions about how your child will return to school this fall during the #COVID19 pandemic. A new decision-making tool is available to help keep your family safe and prepare for the upcoming school year. Learn more: https://t.co/z3oVIHBirZ. pic.twitter.com/KxZCRvGh5y
— CDC (@CDCgov) July 24, 2020
President Trump has been pushing U.S. schools to start in-person learning as soon as possible. He threatened to stop federal funding for school districts that won’t open back up in the fall. Only schools in coronavirus hotspots would be allowed to remain closed, according to Trump.
The risk to students of missing out on significant class time far outweighs the risk of students violating social distancing rules during the pandemic, argued Trump’s administration. According to the studies, the coronavirus is much less dangerous to children and young adults than common illnesses such as the flu.
According to the AAP: “ SARS-CoV-2 appears to behave differently in children and adolescents than other common respiratory viruses, such as influenza, on which much of the current guidance regarding school closures is based. Although children and adolescents play a major role in amplifying influenza outbreaks, to date, this does not appear to be the case with SARS-CoV-2. Although many questions remain, the preponderance of evidence indicates that children and adolescents are less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Besides, children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection.”
Reaction from the Teachers Unions and Democrats
Democrats, teachers unions, and others have fought against the administration’s strategy. The Florida Education Association (FEA), the state’s largest teachers union, sued Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this week because he ordered the state Department of Education to reopen the schools.
Florida Education Association, statewide teacher’s union, posted advisory saying it will have news conference Monday “to discuss litigation regarding the state emergency order to reopen physical public schools to students five days a week in August.”
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) July 20, 2020
“Everyone wants schools to reopen, but we don’t want to begin in-person teaching, face an explosion of cases and sickness, then be forced to return to distance learning,” The FEA argued.