North Texas Daily

Reopening schools is making problems worse

Reopening schools is making problems worse

Reopening schools is making problems worse
July 17
14:06 2020

Despite the United States hitting an all-time high in COVID-19 cases, many state governors, including our own Gov. Greg Abbott, find it absolutely necessary to allow grade schools to reopen starting next month.

Yes, that’s right, the new school year is on the horizon and while many colleges have gone the “safe-ish” route of hybrid learning, a mix of online and face-to-face classes, many grade school students won’t have the luxury to stay at home on the computer for remote learning. While some schools may stay shut, many won’t, and with no unified plan from any of the state governors, it’s up to the cities and school districts themselves to decide to reopen or not.

President Donald Trump has no clear plans to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country and least of all, our schools. But, he and Besty DeVos, the head of the Department of Education, instead plan on pressuring and defunding school districts across the U.S. if they don’t reopen. And instead of coming up with any type of sound reasoning to quell the fears of teachers, parents or children, Trump is fanning the flames.

While the goal is to hopefully reopen schools in the fall in a safe way, we won’t be able to see that goal come to fruition if all of us aren’t on the same collective page about dealing with COVID-19. It requires work, preparation and flexibility.

It’s no question that school is good for our children, but when going back to school risks the lives of the children and their teachers, maybe it’s best if we sit this one out until a vaccine is introduced. Some teachers are so scared of coming back that they’ve started writing their wills. They shouldn’t have to do that.

It also doesn’t help that there isn’t much data from scientists that can tell us how likely a child is to catch and spread the virus as many schools went remote at the beginning of the outbreak. Schools don’t exist in vacuums and there are parents and bus drivers who have to take these kids to school and back home, who in turn can inadvertently spread the virus elsewhere.

It is unfair and morally abhorrent for us to ask teachers and parents to risk their well-being with a pandemic raging on in our country with no signs of slowing down. On July 12, Florida reached 15,000 COVID cases, 7,000 more than Italy at the peak of their outbreak in March…yet the state still plans to reopen schools? Our lives are nothing but dollar signs to many politicians, who believe that the economic importance of reopening outweighs legitimate public health concerns.

If politicians really want to reopen that badly there needs to be a consistent stance and messaging on face coverings and public safety guidelines. If we want children to go back to school, we need to invest in helping them rather than trying our hardest to defund them.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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