Schools MUST go ‘Back to Normal’ in the Fall—A Scientist’s Perspective
Renata Dziak, Open Letter, 16 Jun 2020
I teach piano. In many of my mostly elementary and high school age students I have witnessed in the past three-and-a-half months increasing indications of listlessness, flat emotions, and depression.
This is a letter written by Renata Dziak, a Canadian Forensic Scientist trained in microbiology and immunology (and the mother of two children) written to her representative in Parliament, explaining in detail on the basis of (real) science, why schools should reopen as usual, without smaller classes, “social distancing” or face masks.
Renata Dziak observes, “We have never closed schools or imposed social restrictions for influenza in the past, and the science shows COVID-19 is no more dangerous for the majority of children or staff than a seasonal influenza.” As Dr. Peter Gøtzsche pointed out in Covid-19: Are we the victims of mass panic? (BMJ 2020;368:m800, published 6 Mar 2020): “WHO estimates that seasonal influenza may result in 290,000 to 650,000 deaths each year due to respiratory diseases alone.” (WHO. Influenza – Burden of disease)
- If COVID Fatalities Were 90.2% Lower, How Would You Feel About Schools Reopening?, H. Ealy, M. McEvoy, M. Sava, S. Gupta, D. Chong, D. White, J. Nowicki, P. Anderson, Children’s Health Defense, 24 Jul 2020
- Giorgio Agamben, Requiem for the Students, 23 May 2020
- “COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child is Not to Blame,” American Academy of Pediatrics, Pre-publication Release 2020
Mark Crispin Miller: “This demolishes the rationale for turning our schools into isolation wards.”
- “Reopening schools in Denmark did not worsen outbreak, data shows,” Reuters, 28 May 2020
- “School closures ‘a mistake’ as no teachers infected in classroom
Mark Woolhouse, an infectious disease epidemiologist, said children are minimally involved in the transmission of the virus,” Jane Barlow, The Times, 22 Jul 2020
- “Orange County education leaders want schools to reopen without masks or social distancing,” Hannah Fry, Sara Cardine, Los Angeles Times, 13 Jul 2020
“Orange County education leaders voted 4 to 1 Monday evening to approve recommendations for reopening schools in the fall that do not include the mandatory use of masks for students or increased social distancing in classrooms amid a surge in coronavirus cases….”
The recommendations, contained in a white paper, widely support schools reopening in the fall. The document states that remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been an “utter failure” and suggests allowing parents to send their children to another district or charter school to receive instruction if their home district does not reopen.
“Among the many compelling expert arguments for reopening our schools, a number of us were also struck by something different, something we might call advice for adults,” the paper states. “Among our greatest responsibilities as adults is our responsibility to model courage and persistence in the face of uncertainty and fear, which is what many families are feeling with the mixed messages and confusion surrounding reopening of schools in the COVID-19 era.”…
The Orange County guidance was compiled from an 11-member panel appointed by the Board of Education last month that includes Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau, County Supervisor Don Wagner, a psychiatrist, an urban studies professor, a public policy professor, a former superintendent and physicians.
“Our constituents expect leadership from us, and so we wanted to present information to you,” Board Vice President Mari Barke said. “These are simply guidelines to be looked at and to follow according to what’s best for your family—take it for what it is and do what you’re most comfortable with.”
- Balancing the Risks of Pupils Returning to Schools, Royal Society DELVE Initiative, 24 Jul 2020
- Missing school is bigger risk for children than catching Covid, warns government adviser Risk to children’s health from coronavirus ’miniscule’, Sage expert says Camilla Turner, The Telegraph, 6 June 2020
For all of humanity—and critically for children—the incalculable physiological, psychological, and sociological injury and damage being effected every day since the lockdown of society began far exceeds the consequences of this virus.
As unlikely as it may seem—to illuminate the minds of elected officials so they understand the necessity of ensuring children return in September to same school environment that they they left in March—there is no greater need to be met now.