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Schools Must Reopen, So Let’s Be Smart

The hardest thing riding the wave of misinformation and partial information flowing through mainstream and social media during the COVID pandemic has been figuring out who to trust. Particularly as the whole thing has turned predictably political it’s gotten worse.

  • Media ignores the death tolls, focuses exclusively on positive cases in order to paint “red states” as worse off than “blue states.”
  • Trumpists latch on to wild conspiracy theories about the CDC intentionally inflating the data of cases as part of the “deep state” effort to control the masses.
  • Headlines that consistently don’t match what the facts of the article actually are (for instance, this Axios story with the headline “Texas asks schools to hold online-only classes through November” when the article says that Texas is granting leeway to schools whose local conditions make them want to do that.
  • Polls showing that the more fearful a person is of COVID, the more likely they are to support Biden – all fueling Republican skepticism of what they deem the left’s “fear porn.”
  • Wearing a mask has become a sign of whether you have a heart on one side, and a sign that you are willing to sacrifice your freedom and bend the knee to the nanny-state on the other.

That’s why I wrote back on April 1st that the two places I had learned to turn to in the midst of all this chaotic contradiction was (1) prayer and (2) Dr. Scott Gottlieb. I’m still going to recommend both.

Gottlieb’s analysis has remained steady and medically grounded throughout, while also doing something that has perhaps been lacking amongst too many of our disease experts. He’s mindful of the health concerns associated with lockdowns and the destruction of private enterprise.

So as the national conversation has turned now to the question of school openings in the coming weeks, I find myself most influenced by the logical approach Gottlieb has taken. While other voices swing wildly from “shut down schools and go online through December” to “kids are more likely to die from a lightning strike than coronavirus so open back up,” Gottlieb is making far more sense.

This is solid common sense backed up with medical expertise. We are foolish if we ignore the risks not just to kids, but perhaps more statistically concerning, the possibility that they could transmit the virus to more vulnerable populations. Schools are, after all, daily meetings of massive groups of people in confined spaces.

That said, prior to the original shutdown, schools did not appear to be the breeding grounds for transmission. And there’s this: we can’t shield everyone from everything. We need to work to mitigate the risks, take rational steps that allow schools to open, be prepared with containment plans for potential outbreaks, and understand that there will be cases that happen whenever we open. It’s a communicable virus, yet somewhere along the line, a significant portion of society started believing that “beating the virus” meant eradicating it to where no one ever caught it. That’s not even logical, no less tenable.

For the overly cautious, we can’t hide forever.

For the overly ambitious, without responsibility freedom evaporates.

There is a way forward, we will get through this, and voices like Gottlieb are the ones that will help us do it.

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