The virus, closing schools, and the possible consequences, unintended or otherwise…

As the Virus continues to “control” our future… I think about what might be if the schools remain closed.  I understand there are major health risks being talked about if school open.  These are topics I think about when I think the schools will stay closed.  I am NOT a big Public Education guy… but I am a huge proponent for the “health of a young Nation”  Schools are critical to the health of a nation.  Covid-19 infection fear may not be a reason to close schools.  There could be worse results..

Life includes risks.  And I have taken many risks during my 7 decades.  This year I attended my 50 year high school reunion.  I was NOT a great student, but I was incredibly faithful to going to school.  If memory serves me… I missed almost no days of class over my 13 year history of Public education.  I am not sure what I learned, I am certain that whatever it was, living in the community of students and teachers was critical for who and what I am today.

People much smarter than me are tackling the issue of whether to open the schools in the fall of 2020.  I hope these following topics are discussed and debated at the same time the Virus discussion is being discussed and debated.  OPENING the schools is a risk, but the nation’s health must be weighted… at least for me it seems as though it should be.

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What are the risks we take if we open the schools vs. closing.  I have no data at this moment… only “questions” and the desire to know that folks who make the open or closed decisions have weighed the issue against what will certainly create other short and long term problems.  If I were on the investigative committee I would make certain these topics were a part of the dialogue.  Regardless of the economic impact.. there could be greater health issues.  Make certain your decision makers investigate similar topics.  If I were on the committee, I would have the data available before I voted to close.

Teen Suicide…     United Health Foundation writes “Youth suicidal ideation, attempt and completion are on the rise. Far more adolescents have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide and survive than those who die by suicide. Results from the 2017 Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show that in the past year 17.2 percent of high school students seriously considered attempting suicide and 7.4 percent attempted suicide.”

Childhood Malnutrition…      From “Focus on Health”, November, 2019.  “Today, approximately 40 million Americans and 12 million children are food insecure, meaning they are often forced to skip meals and buy cheap non-nutritious food. Many families suffering from hunger and poverty live in areas where fresh, unprocessed healthy food is not available or is expensive.”

Child abuse and sexual abuse….  From a story on NPR,  “Child Sexual Abuse Reports Are On The Rise Amid Lockdown Orders, Of those young people who contacted the Abuse hotline in March, 67% identified their perpetrator as a family member and 79% said they were currently living with that perpetrator. In 1 out of 5 cases where the minor was living with their abuser,”

Overall Mental Health… from the CDC website…  “Take care of your mental health
You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions….depression.”

The Socialization of student…..   From APA Psycnet  “how to define competence within the context of school settings…. the processes of socialization is reviewed, including those associated with structural characteristics of schools, as well as more proximal social and interpersonal processes that might support competence development. Children’s experiences in preschool and in K-12 schools are essential….”

Access to internet and online classrooms in poorer communities….     Pew Research Reported in May, 2019,  “Roughly three-in-ten adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year (29%) don’t own a smartphone. More than four-in-ten don’t have home broadband services (44%) or a traditional computer (46%). And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. By comparison, each of these technologies is nearly ubiquitous among adults in households earning $100,000 or more a year.”  The completion of studies online has its own set of issues..

From USA Today,  “After coronavirus, expect high school dropout wave…Educational disruptions especially threaten African American and Latino students, as their families suffer disproportionate unemployment and COVID-19 complications and death. Nearly half of Latinos report job loss or a pay cut compared with about a third of all U.S. adults, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.”

I would guess you have your own questions to ask…

And within hours of publishing a new question was posed in relationship to school closings.

Special Needs Children and the pandemic… From the Lansing State Journal.  “The pandemic disrupted the lives of all children, but it has caused additional stress for those with disabilities. And parents and child experts alike are not only worried about their emotional state, but also how the lack of in-person instruction will affect children with special needs in the long run….If  our special needs son doesn’t go back to school until August, he’ll have lost six months. It’s going to be really tough.”

 

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