COVID19 is taking a toll on high schoolers but is not as a result of the actual virus. The CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield notes that we’ve seen more suicides and more drug overdoses among high schoolers than deaths from the coronavirus. This is significant so what is the message here?
What role do schools play in issues like mental health and child abuse reporting? Is it in the public health interest to these K through 12 students to get the schools open again? How much value is there in face-to-face learning? Do you want kids back in school?
Are there children who may be better served by homeschooling? Certainly, there are those with certain conditions who may be safer not publicly mixing? Do we need to ensure that if they need access to be able to have the computer and the internet then do that?
What does the data tell us?
Redfield said there isn’t yet sufficient data to definitively say children could be significant vectors of transmission. He also said data gathered so far doesn’t point in that direction. So it looks like it but it is not a proven fact as yet.
With respect to virus lethality Redfield notes the data showed it was relatively low. In the first almost 218,000 people we looked at February to July, there were 52 individuals under the age of 18. And about 35 were actually school age. That means the risk per 100,000 is about point-one per 100,000. That’s another way to say that, it’s one in a million.
Redfield said, “It’s not risk of school openings versus public health. It’s public health versus public health… And I’m of the point of view, and I weigh that equation as an individual that has 11 grandchildren, that the greater risk is actually to the nation to keep these schools closed.
Being overcautious isn’t just going to set students back in terms of in-person learning by confining learning to the virtual realm. Being overly cautious kills. The data demonstrate that. It’s time to open New Hampshire’s Schools.