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Opinion: COVID-19 Isn’t Going Anywhere, So Schools Must Not Reopen

Response to “Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere. So schools must reopen.” by Kathleen Parker


COVID-19 is not over, and according to experts, is far from actually being over. In America, people are currently holding debates on whether or not children should be sent back to physical schools. As written by Kathleen Parker in an op-ed article published by The Washington Post:

In one ear, the trembling voice of a teacher says she’s terrified to return to the classroom. In the other, an exhausted mother of two young children tells me she’s praying her kids can go back to school.

In the New York Times, teacher Rebecca Martinson writes that she won’t risk her life to teach other people’s kids. In the Atlantic, nurse Kristen McConnell, who is married to a teacher, argues that teachers are essential workers just like she is — and they should step up to the plate.

Kathleen ParkerCovid-19 isn’t going anywhere. So schools must reopen.

Parker’s article gives us a first-hand look into the belief held by some Americans who say that our schools need to re-open. Is claiming that re-opening the economy during a pandemic “for the sake of the economy and mental health” even a good argument?

Education is very important, and in a sense, that makes teachers essential. However, the past several months, along with the existence of organizations designed for providing online schooling, show us that teaching can be done from home. Online-based education is not anything new, and many of these organizations have been around for a while now.

Many people want things to go back to having a feel of simply being normal. If that normality includes teachers and students ending up in hospitals or dying from an otherwise preventable disease, is that really normal?

Parker’s article makes the point that “Children need to be in school and parents need to return to work.” Schools across the world have switched to online education. The US should still be doing the same, considering that the US is being hit harder than any other countries. Schools, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, were known as places where diseases would very easily spread.

Parker also claimed that “Infection rates are decreasing in some places.” This is true for some places, but some places having lowering cases is not nearly enough. The US economy has already re-opened, and cases in all 50 states are rapidly increasing day-by-day, with some states being affected more than others.

Parker then goes on to claim that “Everyone must be essential workers for the sake of the economy,” and then writes that “politics both drives and undermines the discussion we should be having about what all Americans can do to play their part.” Health is not a political debate, but claims of “all workers are essential for the economy” is one. There are, or should be, systems in place to keep people that would otherwise have “non-essential” jobs from going bankrupt or getting evicted due to uncaring landlords.

If action does not start now, COVID-19 will keep getting worse and worse. Many loved ones will be dead, and the government, anti-maskers, and the other people that lead to the do-nothing attitudes for COVID-19 will most likely never be held accountable for their actions.

We do not need to reopen physical schools or act like the crisis is over. It is, in fact, far from over. What we can do, however, is keep using masks, start supplying enough ventilators for the people that need them, have the government start giving suitable assistance to people, practice necessary steps to lower transmission rates (masks, physical distancing, hand washing/sanitizing, et cetera), and do whatever we can to save lives.

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