(UnitedVoice.com) – It’s safe for kids to go to school, but it’s not safe for Americans to travel to see family for Thanksgiving. That’s the determination by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield.
Across the country, COVID cases are surging. On Monday, November 23, millions of students and teachers across America will not be in the classroom. In some instances, the kids are not the problem. It’s the teachers who are quarantined or infected with the contagious virus that is the cause for some schools to close.
However, in heavily Democratic-controlled states and cities, elected officials are choosing to close schools down altogether. Kentucky, Michigan, and New York City are the most recent to announce school closings and move to all-remote learning. In some instances, the reasons for closing schools are highly inconsistent, even among schools in the same county.
School closures are now facing political pushback as the White House and government agencies say closing schools is the wrong tactic to curb the spread of the virus. Experts argue virtual learning is inferior to in-class instruction, and doubts exist about whether school closures cause more harm than good.
Schools Are the Safest Place for Kids to Be
During a White House Coronavirus task force briefing on Thursday, November 19, CDC Director Redfield said schools are the safest places for kids to be. He said that evidence proves students contract the virus from family gatherings and events in the community — not in school.
Redfield went on to say that decisions should be based on data, not emotion. He suggested that elected officials and school leaders are making decisions that don’t support the fact that kids are not getting sick at school. He added that closing schools out of emotion were counterproductive from a public health point of view.
In October, the CDC published research that said out of 277,285 positive cases of COVID-19 in schoolchildren, those between 5 and 11 years old experienced infections at half the rate of kids between the ages 12 and 17. According to the CDC director, extensive data proves that schools can teach in-person safely and responsibly. In the spring, Redfield said there wasn’t enough data to go on, but the CDC never recommended school closures at that time.
Thanksgiving Gatherings a Bigger Threat Than In-Person Learning
Echoing Dr. Deborah Birx, Redfield said that the threat for transmission of COVID-19 wasn’t the “public square.” It’s small family gatherings where people let their guard down because they are comfortable. In some states like Pennsylvania, new orders require people not in the same household to wear masks even in their homes.
Over the last week, the CDC said more than one million new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the US. Their recommendation is to only celebrate the holiday with household members and avoid meeting with other family or friends to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
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