Classmates in the Library

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"Editorial Board, “California should be ashamed of its shuttered schools,"

"The Bay Area and California’s relatively responsible approach to the pandemic, particularly in the context of the worst national response in the developed world, has saved many lives. The success is marred, however, by a glaring failure to educate children. While restrictions on high-risk gathering places have looked more justified as the toll of the virus has grown in places that failed to take such steps, the mass abandonment of schoolchildren has only become more inexplicable. … [T]he evidence that children can be taught safely in person, particularly at younger ages, has accumulated. With the help of masks and modifications to allow for more distancing and ventilation, schools in much of the United States and Europe have opened for in-person instruction without major outbreaks. Most of the infamous cases of school-based mass transmission, including outbreaks in Georgia and Israel, have taken place among older students and with scant precautions. Moreover, children are unlikely to get seriously ill from the virus, and those of elementary school age appear to be responsible for limited transmission to each other or adults. Studies in Europe, where schools have been kept open despite outbreaks rivaling the United States’, have found no correlation between open classrooms and coronavirus spread. The relatively low risk of spreading the virus through appropriately cautious schools is in contrast to the significant harm of keeping them closed, forcing students and parents into remote-learning regimes that are flawed in the most fortunate households and failing the less fortunate. … State and local officials took advantage of hard-won lulls in the contagion to let bars, restaurants and other risky businesses reopen even as they deferred to teachers’ unions and school boards to keep classrooms empty. “Schools should absolutely reopen,” the state’s acting health officer, Dr. Erica Pan, said in October. That so many haven’t is an embarrassment."