Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Is it safe to send your kids to school? | Salon.com

Is it safe to send your kids to school? | Salon.com
Is it safe to send your kids to school?
Health experts worry the issue has become politicized, and argue it's safer than one might think — with a catch

Ten months into the pandemic, the prospect of reopening K-12 schools is divisive. Yet unlike wearing a mask to stop the spread of the virus — a politicized act which is scientifically proven to work — there is far more nuance between the "right" and "wrong" option for in-person schooling. And it can be wildly variable depending on the region.

Recently, Chicago has found itself facing this very question of reopening schools. Mayor Lori Lightfoot hoped to reopen public schools today for the first time since March, though her plans faced fierce opposition from the teachers' union. Emily Oster, an economics professor at Brown University, told the New York Times that the Chicago school reopening was "probably the most contentious and unpleasant reopening, in terms of how the different sides are interacting with each other."

Indeed, the stand-off in Chicago is a microcosm of the tensions that many communities have faced throughout the pandemic. From an education standpoint, some are concerned that their children will be set back; from a social standpoint, some children are more safe at schools than at home if they live with abusive guardians.

Yet from a public health perspective, congregating in schools increases the probability of transmission to or from students and teachers. That fear is heightened if there is an immunocompromised parent or grandparent living in the house.

Perhaps, then, the matter comes down to how much one trusts masks and distancing guidelines. In search of ascertaining what is the "safest" option for children, Salon interviewed three medical experts who unanimously agreed: sending children to school is safe if the proper precautions are being taken — and those precautions should be a priority for policymakers, community leaders, and parents alike. CONTINUE READING: Is it safe to send your kids to school? | Salon.com