Going back to school…is it worth the risk?
Following a summer characterized by uncertainty and fear concerning the reopening of schools across the country, many schools have made the decision to resume part-time or full-time in person learning. Whether or not this was the right decision is heavily dependent upon the location and enforcement of sanitary precautions of each school, but the overriding trend is that children are being affected by the virus more than what most originally expected. Compared to 2% in April, children now compose nearly 10% of all Covid-19 cases, highlighting the effect being in a classroom may have. Still, experts say that this rise probably has to do with more than just school. With reopenings came a popular mindset that other aspects of life should return to “normal” as well, leading to more playdates, time in large groups, sports, and activities out of school. Each of these may play a part in the rise of cases in children, but staying home isn’t something many want to consider, or even have the option to consider, as internet access and childcare for working parents remain obstacles. Mississippi resident Kathy Willard said she had “mixed feelings” about her grandson’s return to school, followed by a two week quarantine after several teachers and one student tested positive. Because the family doesn’t have internet, Willard said, “It was a hardship. There’s always worry about him falling behind or not getting access to what he needs for school…But at the same time, I’m glad the school is doing what they can to protect our kids.” It seems as though the risk of returning to the “new normal” is one most are willing to take, but this choice doesn’t come without consequence.