In the small Atlanta bedroom community of Dallas, Georgia, schools opened. At North Paulding High School, hallways jammed with mostly unmasked teens were videoed and streamed to social media by a few students, which was picked up by media.
Naturally, the horror was mined to maximum effect. The Washington Post threw the story above the fold on its website, quoting Buzzfeed News, which interviewed the student who made the video.
The school suspended the students for violating privacy and video policy. (North Paulding High School has some rather unfortunate experience with student videos becoming a huge problem.) So now teens who “report” and denounce their schools publicly will become heroes to those who believe the schools should not open in the first place.
“I’d like to say this is some good and necessary trouble,” [15 year-old student Hannah] Watters told CNN. “My biggest concern is not only about me being safe, it’s about everyone being safe because behind every teacher, student and staff member, there is a family, there are friends, and I would just want to keep everyone safe.”
If Watters wanted to “keep everyone safe,” why didn’t she just stay home? Paulding County School District has a “Virtual Academy,” which over the summer gave students and parents an opportunity to enroll if they decided they didn’t want to attend in person. Over 9,000 students opted for this. The program was so popular that there’s now a waiting list for new applicants.
The school district told parents in the same flyer that it was fully aware of the challenges in enforcing social distancing in classrooms and school buses. But young Miss Watters went to school, wore a mask (as many of her fellow classmates did), and videoed everyone to make a point, but in reality she just fed the outrage machine.
Meanwhile, in California, which has now surpassed New York and Florida in case counts, and is third after New York and New Jersey for deaths, despite conducting more tests than any other state, officials are blaming young adults and parties for spreading the virus. Given that Florida is also exploding, with more active cases than any other state (and nearly double the case count per 1M population of California), this makes sense.
“As long as you have any member of society–any demographic group–who is not seriously trying to get to the endgame of suppressing this, it will continue to smolder and smolder and smolder,” the LA Times quoted Dr. Fauci.
This “wave” of coronavirus is coming from mostly younger people going out and mixing. It’s unclear whether one school’s students wearing masks or not would stop this trend, if young adults continue to go the gyms, bars, parties, and beaches in groups. Even if gyms, bars, and beaches were closed, house parties, such as the ones in Hollywood, could become “super spreader” events.
With college students beginning to return, and football programs, fraternities, and some high schools opening in-person, it’s the young people who are going to get and spread coronavirus. The young people–except a very tiny number–are not going to die from it. Many won’t even know they have it, beyond a day or two of feeling less than 100%.
In L.A. County, 10% of COVID-19 hospitalizations come from adults aged 18 to 29, and 25% are from adults in their 30s and 40s. But the largest number, and the vast majority of deaths, is still from people 60 and over. That means these kids, if they live at home, may be killing their own parents. Chilling.
If young adults and teens don’t want to protect themselves from COVID-19–and let’s be clear, many do care very much, but are simply tired of being locked down for months–then the disease is going to continue to spread and “smolder” as Dr. Fauci said. Beyond closing everything, there’s little we can do. And even if we close everything, we can’t stop parties and hangouts.
All we can do is ask them to be more responsible.
As for opening schools, that’s a family decision. One of the writers here at The Resurgent, David Thornton, decided to keep his kids home, despite in-person school opening in his district. We should all respect that decision. In Fulton County, where I live, we don’t have the option: School will be virtual. If the schools opened in-person, my wife and I–and the kids–were excited to get them back into the classroom. We saw the precautions their school was preparing, and we believe the risk is acceptable.
What we, as parents, didn’t do, was send our kids to school and then let them become activists and heroes for a media machine hungry to show how Georgia (but only red states) is recklessly putting lives in danger. That’s terribly irresponsible, and young Miss Watters’ parents should be mortified.
Young adults living on their own should be encouraged not to kill their parents and grandparents. If they won’t listen, then they should be kept away from places where they can infect the vulnerable. If they want to take their own risks–they are not invincible–then we can’t lock them up or become a nation of Karens. With kids living at home, the responsibility falls to the parents.
Responsible parents evaluate the risk and decide whether kids should stay home or go to school. This is based on the health and medical condition of the kids and the parents. Irresponsible parents send their kids to school to become media heroes.