‘Children are not the superspreaders we initially thought them to be…’
The House Freedom Caucus urged the Trump administration and state governments to reopen schools this fall, citing concerns about distance learning’s failure and the mental well-being of students across the nation.
“It is more harmful to keep children locked out of schools, and less harmful and less risky for children to go back to schools, and that’s the bottom line. It’s as simple as that,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., the chairman of the caucus, said during a press conference on Thursday.
There is ample evidence proving that the coronavirus is not nearly as big of a risk to students as it is to older adults, said Dr. Bob Hamilton, a pediatrician from California who has been advising the lawmakers.
“Children in general are not getting sick in large numbers from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Children are dying in very, very low numbers — almost zero,” Hamilton said. “Children are not the superspreaders we initially thought them to be.”
The real risk is what happens when you don’t send children back to school, said Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va.
“You have food insecurity. You have emotional problems that are not being addressed. There may be child abuse going on. Nobody is seeing it; nobody’s paying attention. Parents are under a lot of stress. Kids may be left at home. Mom and dad may have to go to work, and then we’re leaving these kids at home,” he explained.
Hamilton agreed and noted that the long-term effects of quarantine and isolation are “not positive.”
“It is very clear that depression, stress, anxiety is increasing in large numbers and especially students in [the] junior high and high school age category,” he said.
Even the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted this week that reopening schools is of the upmost importance.
“I’m of the point of view as a public health leader in this nation, that having the schools actually closed is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen,” CDC Director Robert Redfield told The Hill.
Even so, Redfield is refusing to change its existing health guidelines for schools, which are “very tough & expensive,” according to President Trump.