The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admitted during a press conference that it based its new school guidelines on science, but also input from teachers and stakeholders.

No wonder the guidelines pretty much give unions and schools an excuse to not return to in-person learning.

It’s weird how one week officials say schools should reopen and the next they come up with every excuse to keep it all closed.

The bipartisan group Open Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia found a few interesting tidbits in the transcript of a press conference with the CDC.

Public health experts at Harvard University and Boston University blasted the guidelines in The Washington Post.

Overall, it looks like the CDC is also caving to public pressure regarding masks, hygiene, and social distancing.

The CDC plan has four color-coded levels:

The CDC defines four color-coded levels of the spread of covid-19 in a school’s surrounding community: blue (low), yellow (moderate), orange (substantial) and red (high). If community spread is red and if schools don’t have routine screening testing in place, two conditions that exist in more than 90 percent of the country right now, the CDC recommends closing middle and high schools, unless all mitigation strategies can be strictly adhered to, and hybrid models for young learners. If it is orange, middle schools and high schools join elementary schools in being able to go hybrid. In yellow or blue communities, all K-12 schools can be open for in-person instruction.

How do you get to the blue level? A school district qualifies for it “if they report about one daily case per 100,000” and only if it is “documents continuously for several weeks.”

The report “emphasizes hand-washing,” but the two professors noted that we do not have “a single documented case of covid-19 transmission through surfaces.”

“Shared air is the problem, not shared surfaces,” they pointed out.

The CDC brought up ventilation on page 13 in one bullet point. So the professors want to know why the CDC won’t talk about it more when the officials know that air transmission is a bigger deal than hygiene.

(So stop hoarding the Clorox and Lysol wipes)

Social distancing? Three feet for kids should be the limit:

Finally, the CDC emphasizes maintaining six feet of distancing, even between kids. But that ignores the science on children, transmission and the power of layered risk-reduction measures. One of us (Allen) and another colleague have recommended three feet of distancing for kid-kid interaction while keeping adults six feet from everyone else. Why? Because with masks, distancing is important, but not the key factor determining risk. As an example, hospitals don’t distance at all. Ultimately, this six-foot distancing rule is what will keep most kids out of school simply because of space limitations.

The science is clear: Kids — especially young children — can get and transmit covid-19, but they are less likely to do so than adults. Kids can die from the disease, but the risk of that happening is one in a million; they are about 10 times as likely to die by suicide. Teachers also have lower risk than other occupations and can be kept safe through adherence to universal precautions.

How about parents? I’m sick of people calling them lazy parents. If teaching was so easy I wouldn’t have gone to college for four years to become a teacher. The CDC disappointed many parents:

“Parents had grown progressively nervous that this was going to be a politically influenced outcome and that’s what it feels like we landed at,” said Karen Vaites, a mother who lives in New York City and is part of a group advocating for open schools.

She said mitigation strategies such as mandatory masks, which the CDC said were essential, make sense, but she views the requirement for six feet between students when rates are high to be too strict, and argued the CDC’s metrics for reopening are too conservative.

I documented the problems the Chicago Teachers Union caused for Chicago Public Schools. Like the CTU, the CDC keeps moving the goalposts.

Is it more for the lobbying groups and unions? In my opinion, I view it as power. People relinquished so much power to governments. Officials are not ready to give it up.

Education should be as local as possible on all levels. You cannot believe that a rural school district is the same as the New York City school districts. That is true when it comes to education and COVID-19 statistics.


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