The COVID-19 pandemic is poised to make the 2020-21 school year as challenging as the last, but doctors now believe the benefits for children in school far outweigh the risks of coronavirus infection.
In the spring, the virus closed almost every school building in a historic drop in education. Schools were forced to switch to distance learning for almost one night.
As the coronavirus continues to ravage various regions, K-12 leaders are forced to close and reopen for personal lessons as the rate of infection decreases and flows.
Schools in the Michigan area reopened for personal training last Monday. Traditional classroom teaching looked a little different, as students like Joy Elementary wore masks and worked behind dividers designed to prevent the spread of COVID.
The studies were conducted both in the United States and worldwide for several months. It seems that everyone has come to similar conclusions, namely that the resumption of schools does not seem to affect the rate of coronavirus spread in these areas.
Some states may not weigh school operations at all, leaving the decisions entirely to local education and public health leaders.
Currently, 7 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are in force by state order for full or partial closure.
Two international studies show that there is no direct link between personal classes and the spread of coronavirus.
In an anecdotal way, the findings coincide with data collected from multiple schools and collected from 2,000 schools.
Kate Filippo, an associate professor at Loyola University School of Education in Chicago, said “children hurt in every way.”
“They are worried about their safety, they are worried about the safety of their loved ones, they are worried about whether they will get sick, they are wondering what will happen to them, to their schools,” she told the Chicago Tribune.
Some doctors say that the risks of mental health problems, hunger, obesity due to inactivity and lack of routine medical care are worse than the risks of being in school (photo file)
Now some pediatricians are hoping that the talks will shift from the risks of reopening to the risks of closing schools.
“As a pediatrician, I really see the negative impact of these school closures on children,” said Dr. Daniel Dooley, medical director at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC.
“Going to school is really vital for children. They eat at school, physical activity, health care, education, of course, “she told NPR.
Dooley says that in addition to missing education, children suffer from mental health problems, hunger, obesity due to inactivity, lack routine medical care and some are at greater risk of being abused.
Schools in the United States and elsewhere are testing a wide range of reopening strategies, from all online classes to all in person.
Many are wondering whether rebuilding schools with stringent mitigation measures is worth the risk to students, families and teachers, as school closures are likely to harm academic progress, social and emotional development, mental health and food security.
Child holds a sign during a protest against the closure of public school 130 in front of the school building for safety reasons following the coronavirus outbreak earlier this month (file)
Similar data on the effect of reopening schools despite a number of cases of coronavirus were also observed in a Spanish study.
Although a second wave of the virus began in September, after the start of the school year, cases in one area fell by three weeks and others continued to rise at the same rate, while another remained flat.
There was no sudden jump to coincide with the reopening of schools.
The study found that nowhere was there a jump that coincided with the reopening.
“What we have found is that the school that is being opened makes absolutely no difference,” Enrico Alvarez of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya told NPR.
“We are not sure that the school environment may not have a small and systematic effect, but it is quite clear that they do not have particularly large epidemic-changing effects, at least in Spain, with the measures being taken in Spain.
Some parents at a school in Brooklyn protested after it was closed due to a COVID outbreak. They believe that there is no substitute for personal training and some research seems to agree
Basic safety measures were introduced at the school, including wearing masks for children aged six and over, improved ventilation, keeping students in small groups and adhering to a social distance of 1.5 meters.
A similar finding was discovered by Insights for Education, which advises education departments around the world.
Their report looks at trends between February and September in 191 countries.
“There is no consistent model. Not that the closure of schools leads to a reduction in cases or that the opening of schools leads to an increase in cases, “said the head of the organization, Dr. Randa Grob-Zahari.
“We are not saying at all that the schools have nothing to do with the cases. Instead, the data suggest that the opening of schools does not inevitably lead to an increase in the number of cases. “
A “Welcome to School” sign is visible at the entrance to a closed public school in the Gravesend neighborhood, a COVID-19 hotspot in Brooklyn in early October.
In Utah, the prevalence of coronavirus is relatively high with more than 100,000 infections, and data appear to show that schools do not stimulate the spread.
“Where you see cases of growth in a neighborhood, in a county, we see that they usually affect school,” said Sidney Dixon, head of public education. “We don’t see a spread because we’re at school together.”
This adds weight to doctors’ arguments that human training is preferred when possible.
“Children under the age of 10 are usually at a fairly low risk of developing symptomatic coronavirus,” said Dr. Rainu Caushal of Weill Cornell Medicine.
“I’d like to see students, especially younger ones, come back,” said Malani of the University of Michigan. “I feel more encouraged that this can happen in a safe and thoughtful way.”
Floor markings in the hallway at Joy Elementary in Michigan City, Indiana, help students maintain proper distance when it’s time for their classroom to use the restrooms.
Researchers at Yale University surveyed 57,000 childcare providers and compared the number of infections and hospitalizations between workers whose programs are open, who remain open, who are closed.
There is no difference in the proportion of those who have contracted the disease and who care for children, and those who are not.
The study suggests that as long as schools and other places follow basic health and safety practices, there is no greater risk.
“Although many American childcare workers contracted COVID-19 in May and June, it was not determined by whether they worked with children or not,” said psychology professor Walter Gilliam. “Under certain conditions, it is possible to open childcare programs without harming staff.”
“Understandably, all families, employers and early childhood development experts want childcare programs to resume,” said Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America, a child protection organization. “It is difficult for parents to work without childcare – and it is difficult for young children to thrive without being able to communicate with caring adults and other children.”