Why I'm Not Sending My Children to School This Year
As a healthcare provider, this matter is personal to me. I have young children. Now, I know the research shows that children, if they contract COVID-19, typically experience only mild symptoms. I am concerned that they could bring it home as asymptomatic carriers. In turn, they would expose family members who are at high risk due to age and medical conditions.
When I sit back and think about young children wearing masks all day and washing their hands well, I just can't visualize it. I think these tasks will be very difficult to enforce and create added stress on teachers and administrators. This stress, in turn, lowers the immune system. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, it is projected that one in four teachers will contract the disease.
I am fortunate that my school district gives an option for 100% remote learning. I know this will put a lot of responsibility on the adults in the family to step in and help with academics. No matter what your decision about sending your children to school, please do it safely.
Here is a (slightly) edited version of the letter I sent to my local school board:
(personal information omitted)
I have carefully considered (my children's) academic development against their physical health and well being. I will not send them to school this year.
Daily, there is more information about the long-term effects of contracting COVID-19. These include clotting in the small blood vessels (1), continued fatigue even after testing negative (2) and impairment of neurological function including memory and coordination (3). These effects are seen in those who experienced mild, moderate, and severe symptoms (4). Projected models show that as many as one in four teachers may contract the disease by going back to classroom teaching (5).
I believe the best approach for school, until a viable vaccine is available, is to develop more effective remote learning tools with supports such as student-teacher and peer-to-peer tutoring.
Thank you for your careful consideration of this serious matter.
Below are the references:
(1) Pathologist found blood clots in ‘almost every organ’ during autopsies on COVID-19 patientsPathologist found blood clots in ‘almost every organ’ during autopsies on COVID-19 patients Pathologist found blood clots in ‘almost every organ’ during autopsies on Covid-19 patients
(3) Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptomsWarning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms UK neurologists publish details of mildly affected or recovering patients with serious or potentially fatal brain conditions
(4) Brain fog, fatigue, breathlessness. Rehab centers set up across Europe to treat long-term effects of coronavirusBrain fog, fatigue, breathlessness. Rehab centers set up across Europe to treat long-term effects of coronavirus Professional diver Emiliano Pescarolo contracted coronavirus in March and spent 17 days in hospital in the Italian port city of Genoa before being discharged on April 10.
(5) How Many Teachers Are at Risk of Serious Illness If Infected with Coronavirus?How Many Teachers Are at Risk of Serious Illness If Infected with Coronavirus? As the nation continues to struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus, there is considerable debate about when and how to reopen schools. This analysis finds that one in four teachers (24%, or a…