Data Analysis By Experts Say Schools Should Be Open, Dems Disregard The Science

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Democratic governors across the nation have called for sweeping school closures, which contradicts the science on which they also claim to rely. Just today, the Sixth District United States Court of Appeals sided with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order to close both public and private schools for all ages across the state of Kentucky, and New York public schools closed again on the 19th.

But why, exactly? Why close all the schools for all the ages across many states? I mean, we’re supposed to “believe science” and “listen to the experts,” right?

Ok, so let’s look at what the science and experts are actually saying.

Dr. Faucci is widely regarded as an “expert” on the subject (despite his impressive flip-flopping over the months). So what has he said?

On the 18th, UNICEF released its first comprehensive data analysis regarding the effects of the COVID pandemic on children worldwide. They stated that

“there is strong evidence that, with basic safety measures in place, the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them.”

“Schools are not a main driver of community transmission, and children are more likely to get the virus outside of school settings.”

“Disruptions to key services and soaring poverty rates pose the biggest threat to children. The longer the crisis persists, the deeper its impact on children’s education, health, nutrition and well-being. The future of an entire generation is at risk.”

Politico explained that the UNICEF data “from 191 countries shows no consistent link between reopening schools and increased rates of coronavirus infection.”

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How about Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, who said, “I believe we need to keep the schools open at this time.”

The Washington Post published an article authored by Emily Oster, a professor of economics at Brown University, who compiled and analyzed data regarding COVID-19. According to professor Oster, the data shows that “schools are not spreading COVID-19.”

“If we are looking for ways to control community spread, shutting down schools is not the answer. Other measures, focused more on the locations and activities known to have superspreader potential, would do much more to curb the pandemic. This is where New York City is making a mistake: It is closing schools because city case rates are rising, not because of any evidence that schools are spreading the disease.”

Instead of reflexively closing schools when cases increase,

“what the data increasingly shows is that the best way to protect teachers and students isn’t to shut down schools. It’s to focus on all the measures that will keep them — and their families, friends and neighbors — safe outside the classroom.”

She closely analyzed data from New York and reported,

“During the four-week period studied, roughly 80 percent of schools in the state reported no covid-19 cases at all. And of those schools that did detect covid, nearly 90 percent had only one or two cases across all students and staff. A single case is unlikely to be the result of in-school transmission — meaning students and teachers don’t appear to be catching covid from each other.”

In a different article published in The Atlantic, titled, “Schools Aren’t Super-spreaders; Fears from the summer appear to have been overblown,” Professor Oster reported on a project working with school-principal and superintendent associations to analyze COVID data from almost 200,000 kids in 47 states. In a much needed statement of reality, the Professor said of the incredibly low student infection rates,

“These numbers are not zero, which for some people means the numbers are not good enough. But zero was never a realistic expectation. We know that children can get COVID-19, even if they do tend to have less serious cases. Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases, because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus. But the numbers are small—smaller than what many had forecasted.”

Like she says, zero was never a realistic expectation. There were never going to be zero deaths, regardless of who was President. There were never going to be zero cases in schools during a global pandemic, regardless of policies, procedures, or closures. Of the specific numbers reflected in the data, Oster said,

“Even in high-risk areas of the country, the student rates were well under half a percent.”

She goes on to argue that while children are not suffering from COVID infection from school, they are suffering various other crippling effects from the unnecessary lockdowns.

“One might argue, again, that any risk is too great, and that schools must be completely safe before local governments move to reopen them. But this approach ignores the enormous costs to children from closed schools. The spring interruption of schooling already resulted in learning losses.”

“The children affected by school closures are disproportionately low-income students of color.”

“Virtual school is available, but attendance levels are not up to par.”

“Pediatricians have linked remote schooling to toxic stress.”

Professor Oster ended her article with a scathing assessment of the hypocrites who call themselves pro-science while simultaneously closing down schools, contradictory to the science.

“Democratic governors who love to flaunt their pro-science bona fides in comparison with the anti-science Trump administration don’t seem to be aware of this growing body of evidence. On Monday, for instance, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed that businesses were not “mass spreaders,” as opposed to schools, and subsequently announced that he would close schools in hot-spot areas.”

The only item with which I might disagree is that she gives them the benefit of the doubt by assuming they “don’t seem to be aware” of the science, while I suspect they are fully aware and simply hope you are not.

Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo himself conceded that “We’re not seeing spread in the schools. You see a very low percentage of positivity in the schools.”

Why, then, are the schools still closing across the nation?

To find your answer, one need not look to science, but rather to the politics and priorities of the large teachers unions leadership, as Gov. Cuomo himself admitted. Because, as it turns out, it actually isn’t about the science.