“When you talk about children going back to school and their safety, it really depends on the level of viral activity, and the particular area that you’re talking about. What happens all too often, understandably, but sometimes misleadingly, is that we talk about the country as a whole in a unidimensional way.”
“There’s no ‘no-risk’ activity,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told CNN. “Staying home is not a no-risk activity, particularly if the parent’s working. So, it’s a question of can we mitigate the risk.”
“Are we looking for absolute safety?” asked Dr. Susan Coffin, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If we’re looking for absolute safety, we might choose to hunker down and wait until there’s no more virus, and then begin to reopen schools exceptionally cautiously. But many educators and public health experts in the United States have been focused on strategies where we can have children come back together for in-person learning sooner rather than later.”
Anita Cicero, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said she thinks there’s a false sense of security based on the relatively low number of cases of Covid-19 in children. “I don’t know if people are really connecting the dots to how that will increase the risk and increase potential exposures for family members at home,” she said.
What does the data say about kids passing Covid to others?
What remains unclear is the extent to which children infected with the virus can pass it onto others.
“The big unanswered question is, how efficiently can a child who’s infected with coronavirus pass it on to other kids and to teachers and family members at home,” Cicero told CNN.
Fauci seemed to think that keeping schools closed in general was not necessary.
“Children can get infected, so, yes, so you’ve got to be careful,” he said. “You got to be careful for them and you got to be careful that they may not spread it. Now, to make an extrapolation that you shouldn’t open schools, I think is a bit of a reach.”
Do the benefits of sending children back to school outweigh the risks?
American Federation of Teachers president…