Betsy DeVos is Right, Schools Must Open

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has been heavily criticized for demanding public schools open. Instead of politicizing this sensitive issue, her opponents should look at the data that makes it abundantly that children are unlikely to spread COVID-19. The negative effects of not opening schools are gigantic.

Stacy Manning and Katy Faust, educators in Washington state, report:

“Seattle Public Schools informed parents last week that their children will not return to classrooms in the fall. Distance learning will be the sole offering.

The school system is unable to “imagine a way to open schools without the risk of significant transmission of COVID-19” and insists its decision is driven by “science and data.” Seattle must have missed the science and data revealing that “Denmark, Austria, Norway, Finland, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and most other countries that have reopened classrooms haven’t had outbreaks in schools or day-care centers.”

The district seems unaware of the science and data showing children almost never transmit the Wuhan coronavirus. According to one of the U.K.’s leading scientific advisers, “[T]here has been no recorded case of a teacher catching the coronavirus from a pupil anywhere in the world.” Contact tracing in Iceland has revealed parents are more likely to transmit COVID-19 to their children than vice versa.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “[A]ll policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” and the director of the Centers for Disease Control has warned that shuttering schools “is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen.” The only data Seattle Public Schools cited for its decision was increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Timmi is concerned about another year of online school after her sixth-grader struggled in math last spring. “My husband would have to stay up with him for hours working it out on paper because he didn’t learn well from watching videos. Now another year of this math education — I know he will be behind and struggle moving on into high school.”

Amy appreciated her district’s response last spring but feels “those three months of online learning were awful for my 6- and 8-year-olds.” She thinks it’s “unreasonable” and detrimental to grade schoolers’ “health and education” to sit in front of a computer all day. Amy will be homeschooling her kids this fall.”

Parents know that their children need an in-person education and are upset that Seattle isn’t willing to provide that. Thankfully, Secretary DeVos is fighting for the millions of children who will be left behind, if this insanity continues.