Canary in the Coal Mine
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
I have heard from some that children have a very hard time catching COVID-19 and that they are at low risk of spreading the disease, but I'm not sure that is entirely true - and even if true, the risk (however small) still exists.
So, is there any evidence that this is an issue?
There is no doubt that that there have been issues with returning to school. Gymnasia Rehavia is a cautionary tale that we should be aware of where over 100 students and teachers (in a school of approximately 1100) were found to have been infected by Covid-19. This has been documented in various news stories here, here, and most recently here.
In the United States, on the first day of class in one of the first schools to open this year, a student tested positive as noted here. And, clearly, discussions are ongoing about the re-opening is several areas of the United States as noted here and here.
Nobody wants their school to be the US version of Gymnasia Rehavia. And, nobody wants children to bring home COVID-19 to parents and grandparents who have a significantly higher risk of serious complications. So, how do we manage this issue? We need to understand the risks individually and understand what can be done to mitigate the risk. I feel that the questionnaire from VirusSafeSchools helps in two ways. First, it lets the student, parent, teacher, staff, or administrator understand the mitigation that the school or school district has put in place and allows you to better understand the risk of a return to school. Secondly, it allows the school or district to see what else they could be doing that might be beneficial in mitigating the risk. Any "no" answer is an opportunity to apply a new control.
I want to underscore, this isn't political. This is about individuals making the right choice for themselves. There is no one-size fits all solution - this is a situation where each individual needs to take individual responsibility to assess the risk for themselves and loved ones. Get the information that you need to make the right decision for you and your family. Use the questionnaire on VirusSafeSchools and get the answers you need to make your informed, risk-based decision.