To Close Schools or Not Close Schools

After the report by Governor Rick Desantis that the closing of schools was the “greatest health blunder” of all time. I have to disagree with him.

The CDC has provided guidelines on how to safely reopen schools to in-person but ultimately leave the final decision to the local districts. It was the right decision last spring to close school buildings, not stop school. It allowed the scientist time to conduct research and develop a deeper understanding of the virus.

I can only speak about Texas, because it is where I live. In Texas, there are approximately 6 million students and staff in the State of Texas with an overall population of 29.5 million. Roughly translated that is 20% of the population of Texas are school people.

In data from the American Academy of Pediatrics, they report: increase in cases over the last several weeks.

Cumulative Number of Child COVID-19 Cases*

  1. 1,460,905 total child COVID-19 cases reported, and children represented 12.0% (1,460,905/12,167,620) of all cases
  2. Overall rate: 1,941 cases per 100,000 children in the population

Change in Child COVID-19 Cases*

  1. 123,688 new child COVID-19 cases were reported the past week from 11/26-12/3 (1,337,217 to 1,460,905)
  2. Over two weeks, 11/19-12/3, there was a 23% increase in child COVID-19 cases (277,296 new cases (1,183,609 to 1,460,905))

With the number of pediatric cases increasing schools need to make good choices. Is the school having in-person instruction making the situation better or worse? Based on the data above, the answer currently is worse.

Some will claim that very few children are actually dying from Covid-19 and they would be correct numerically. According the CDC, only 127 children ages 0-17 have died since February 1, 2020. The mortality rate is relatively low in comparison to adults.

Mortality (43 states and NYC reported)*

  1. Children were 0.00%-0.23% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 15 states reported zero child deaths
  2. In states reporting, 0.00%-0.11% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death

There are two parts to all schools, children and adults. As we saw above the infection rates are rising but the mortality rate is low for the children.

The adults on the other hand are not as fortunate. Educators in general are not very healthy people. They have a high stress jobs, have poor eating habit, and don’t exercise enough. Many develop high blood pressure, cancer or many other diseases that create contributing factors towards Covid-19 deaths.

Another factor to consider is the general health of school buildings. Schools act as a petri dishes, parents send their sick children to school every day. Those germs and infections are spread throughout the other students and staff. They get in the HVAC systems and never filtered out. Many the HVAC system are just mold-growing factories.

Now throw Covid-19 on top of those conditions every day conditions and you have the making of a perfect storm. Consider this:

If one student comes to school infected and infects their twenty classmates and they go home and infect their family of four. Each of those four in infects four others. It would only take sixteen days to infect 5.38 billion people. Now reduce that number by 20%, you reduce that number to 4.304 billion and you just saved a billion people from being infected.  

Using current Google Statistics on December 8, 2020:

United States…….15 million infected……….284K deaths…. mortality rate 1.89%

Worldwide…. 67.8 million infected……1.55 million deaths…. mortality rate 2.29%

After 16 days, 5.38 billion infected with a 2.29 mortality rate that means 123.2 million would be dead. 4.304 billion infected would be 98.57 million dead or 24.63 million lives saved.

Based on the data:

  1. Children do become infected at a lower rate than adults, especially people over 85.
  2. Some children have died but it is a very low percentage.
  3. Educators are at a greater risk than the children because they are basically unhealthy.

So, going with a remote learning model at this time would greatly help reduce the number of infections and deaths in the world and in the US. It is not the optimal situation for learning but a little inconvenience is better than more lost lives.


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1 Response to To Close Schools or Not Close Schools

  1. Bob Shepherd says:

    Extremely well said. Bravo!

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