Revolving Door Schools Are Bad News For Kids

With the huge COVID rates, I’m involved in huge debates — both in real life and on social media — about whether or not schools should open. I need to step away and get some paid work done, so I’m going to be brief here.

David Leonhardt writes in today’s New York Times:

American children are starting 2022 in crisis.

I have long been aware that the pandemic was upending children’s lives. But until I spent time pulling together data and reading reports, I did not understand just how alarming the situation had become.

He proceeds to list many studies and make points that I’ve been posting on this blog and my newsletter for months. On twitter, he posts a long thread with links to articles with more horrific information. With the support of key writers at the New York Times and health experts, like Dr. Fauci, I think people are really starting to pay attention to the serious crisis facing kids, as a result of interrupting learning.

And more studies keep coming out showing how BAD remote education was. Here’s a new one by Emily Oster.

Fingers are starting to get pointed at groups and individuals, who allowed schools and colleges to stay closed for far too long. Leonhardt wrote, “For the past two years, large parts of American society have decided harming children was an unavoidable side effect of Covid-19…but the approach has been less defensible for the past year and a half.”

Helaine Olen tweeted, “That a not small segment of the progressive left is not only unable to admit to the crisis facing America’s children, but is intent on doubling down on it is horrifying — and is no doubt contributing to Biden’s continuing polling woes.”

CNN’s role in COVID hysteria is getting noticed. I tweeted, “it’s really annoying that it takes a follow up question for CNN’s health experts to admit that kids aren’t being hospitalized BECAUSE of covid. They are going to the hospital for all the typical kid problems – broken bones, stitches — and they get a covid test at the hospital.”

Before Christmas, I got COVID either at Lincoln Center in New York City or at a local pub. None of the people demanding school closures are sitting outside those places demanding that they close. And they shouldn’t. Omicron is not getting people super sick; I wasn’t super sick. I keep hearing stories from friends with unvaccinated young children and 90-year old parents, who didn’t even get a sniffle when they tested positive last week.

I could see a scenario where teachers are sick enough to have to stay home for a couple of days and that leads to staff shortages, which make closures unavoidable. That might happen. Hopefully, those disruptions will be as short as possible. And schools should definitely not close before that happens.

Kids cannot learn in revolving door schools. We have to do whatever we can to keep them learning and in routines and around other people. It’s essential for their development.