"There is no science behind having children not attend schools," says Stanford's Dr. Scott Atlas. "Cases in low-risk populations (is) exactly how we are going to get herd immunity, population immunity, when low risk people with no significant problem handling the virus, which is basically 99% of people, get this and they become immune and they block the pathways of connectivity to more contagious, older, sicker people," he said. "We should open the schools because there is virtually zero risk of death and virtually zero risk of a serious illness in children. This is the fact. This is inarguable. This is proven (in) not only every country outside the United States but by our own data in the CDC itself. Of the first hundred-plus-thousand deaths analyzed, 99.98 deaths were not in children. There is a minimal, if any, risk of children transmitting the disease, even to their parents," says Dr. Atlas. Concerning teachers Dr. Atlas offers this information, "Let's look at who the teachers are in K-12 schools in the United States. Half of them are 41 years old or younger. 82% are under 55. The risk from COVID-19 for people under 60 is less than or equal to seasonal influenza. For those teachers who are considered to be high risk due to age or co-morbidities, "teachers by now understand what six-foot distancing is (and) understand they can wear a mask. If they're still afraid, if they still find it impossible to do social distancing..they can teach from a distance.. instead of shutting down schools. We are the only country in the world not opening schools."
The American Academy of Pediatrics states "the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation (as well as) substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families." The AAP also acknowledges that "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. In addition, children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection."
I cannot find the evidence to support the decisions of Clarke County and Winchester city schools to return to school on a part-time basis. Frederick County Public Schools have not presented their decision yet. I hope that that decision will be based on scientific evidence and not on the prevailing wisdom.
Lisa Callanan is resident of Stephens City.