History will judge us by our decisions during this pandemic. One of the most critical decisions is whether or not we reopen our schools. If we fail to open our schools next month, the consequences of this decision will be far-reaching.
Learning to prioritize in life is essential to doing the right things. Almost always, the urgent is not the most important! It just screams the loudest and gets our attention. As the nation has navigated through this pandemic, it has not been easy to prioritize. However, one area that should be a no-brainer-priority for the entire country is our children. We need to prioritize their present and future well being by reopening our schools! I have been advocating for families for decades. As I see all the squabbling over the schools opening in the Fall, I feel obligated to weigh in on this issue because the welfare of millions of children is at stake.
Our kids need to be physically present in school to ensure their academic progress. Most have already suffered from an incomplete spring semester and the hit and miss online classes. An academic foundation is essential to traversing the higher levels of education. There is no substitute for in-classroom—teacher-led classes for the smaller children. They have to learn to read, write, and do math and add to their necessary educational skills. Online classes are nearly impossible for the younger grades, and even many older children struggle because they are not in a classroom.
The social aspect of school is critical for children. School is the arena where those skills are learned and practiced. Depriving students of these crucial opportunities will diminish their interpersonal skills. Special Ed students desperately need the individual attention they receive in the classroom.
The possibility of children and teens becoming depressed because they have to stay home and cannot reenter school is real. Severe depression in teens is already an indisputable fact, and increasing the risk of teen suicide is tangible. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children, adolescents, and young adults age 15-to-24-year-olds. The majority of children and adolescents who attempt suicide have a significant mental health disorder, most often depression. Depression is an ugly thing, and we need to take it seriously in our kids.
The science has proved the risk to children from COVID-19 is minimal because this is primarily an adult disease. Trying to eliminate the risk of infection to Covid-19 is impossible! The risk of not opening schools will be higher than the risk of opening them. The risk of keeping children home and not allowing them to reenter school will be greater to their mental and social health than the risk of the Corona Virus. When we ask, “What is better for children?”, the answer is obvious. Let them go back to school.
It is unthinkable that politicians would be playing games with our children’s futures to further their political agenda. Using children as ponds in a real-life game of chess is despicable! Politics has a horrible reputation, but using children will be a new low for politicians who chose this issue to fight for their cause.