Opinion | Should Schools Reopen in the Fall?


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For many weeks now in New York City, a heartening number of signs have been popping up of what one might dare call “a semblance of normalcy.” Around the corner from where I live, my favorite coffee shop has started serving iced lattes again for the first time in months. (With paper straws, of course.) Across the street, my least unfavorite dentist is back to doing root canals. But a little farther down the avenue, there is a collection of public schools that closed back in March, and whose doors I have seen open since only once.

In New York, as in the rest of the country, parents and guardians are asking whether their children will be able to go back to school in the fall. But as with so many questions about the coronavirus, the answer often seems to be “we don’t know.”

As new Covid-19 cases surge in the United States, what are the risks of restarting in-person classes, and how should we weigh them? Here’s what people are saying.

Even so, many epidemiologists and teachers worry that reopening schools could lead to a spike in cases for adults. When I last wrote about school reopenings in May, the available research about children’s potential to spread the virus to adults was contradictory.

“Will every at-risk teacher be furloughed or put on disability? Simply marginalizing vulnerable staff members is not a solution,” writes The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson Sorkin. “The United Federation of Teachers, which represents most of New York City’s teachers, and has been tallying the deaths of scores of its members, has reasonably said that teachers should not return unless steps are taken to keep them safe.”

Keeping schools closed may come at a great cost to children’s educational development and health, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Do you have a point of view we missed? Email us at debatable@nytimes.com. Please note your name, age and location in your response, which may be included in the next newsletter.

“How Sweden wasted a ‘rare opportunity’ to study coronavirus in schools” [Science Magazine]

“Female Scientists Are Bearing the Brunt of Quarantine Child-Rearing” [The New Republic]

“Why mothers are bearing such a huge mental load during coronavirus pandemic” [USA Today]

“Opinion: We can’t reopen the economy without child care” [The Los Angeles Times]

“It’s Ridiculous to Treat Schools Like Covid Hot Zones” [Wired]

Here’s what readers had to say about the last debate: What Is to Be Done About American Policing?

Makda, 15, from Kenya: “Initially, I was an avid supporter of the #8cantwait campaign, but after hearing what many activists have had to say about it, I have since switched to support the #8toabolition campaign. Whereas the #8cantwait campaign focuses more on police training (which will likely require more funding) the #8toabolition campaign focuses on defunding the police and utilizing those funds to reduce crime and increase the quality of life for all Americans, which I think is extremely important.”

Katherine van Wormer, professor emerita of social work at the University of Northern Iowa: “If we want to demilitarize the police, the first step should be to remove the preference in hiring for people with miliary experience. Here is a blog I wrote on the subject.”

Cliff, 67, from New Jersey: “Not pointed out strongly is the need to eliminate many so-called crimes that cause police friction to begin with. Decriminalize drugs for starters. Eric Garner might be alive today if there had not been laws against him selling loose cigarettes.”

By Spencer Bokat-Lindell

2020-06-30 18:15:04

Read more from source here…