Opening schools kindergarten through grade 8 as usual, considering COVID-19?
I’m not an expert regarding COVID-19, but here are my thoughts.
I understand the apprehension of both the teachers as well as the parents of the children physically attending school in the fall. So let’s consider the teachers’ risks compared to other vocations that have to deal with the public on a daily basis:
Obviously the highest COVID risks (A) are the ICU medical personnel and also those medical personnel dealing with infected COVID patients within the hospital.
But now let’s go down the ladder of risk levels of exposure.
The next highest exposure (B) are dentists because who else is looking into customers’ mouths and susceptible to their breathing or coughing, but have had a temperature check.
Then come (C) the bartenders, waitresses and waiters working the inside bars and tables because the customers have no masks and possibly the bars don’t have social distancing. Outside tables and drinking have a slightly lower exposure risk due to fresh air.
Now come (D) the retail stores like grocery cashiers and clerks that deal with adults all day who haven’t even had a temperature check, some of whom might be carrying COVID-19? Yes, they do have masks, but most likely there are some young or middle-aged idiot customers in the store that went to a party without masks or social distancing, but the clerks don’t know. Especially the cashiers will see a lot of customers during a shift and most probably some customers have been unfortunately infected but don’t know it.
And now we come (E) to teachers’ exposures with children who might be carrying COVID-19 but at least they are sitting at desks with masks on and hopefully some social distancing. So, if I had to work, I would choose this level, versus A though D.
Plant workers (F) where masks are worn, but do not have much interaction with other employees.
People like me (G) that are retired and seldom go out and even then wearing masks and social distancing.
As to the children, they are not normally hurt by the virus, but might carry the virus to others and that’s the teachers’ concerns. And I don’t blame them, but the risks are reasonably low.
Let the children maybe have 15 minutes between classes so they can go outside without the masks but with social distancing. And in bad weather have large tents outside to get fresh air with coats on. In my day, buses were unheard of and we all walked to school if we were within a mile. Kids can survive wearing coats. And maybe break the children into two groups (A and B) to provide better social distancing in the classroom with “A” attending half a day and the other half, “B” attending after “A” goes home. It’s double the job for the bus drivers, but maybe a solution?
I don’t believe teachers have a high-risk situation, and most everyone agrees teaching at school provides the best education.
Daryl K. Smith