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There is No Excuse for Neglecting the Needs of Our Children

There is No Excuse for Neglecting the Needs of Our Children

As powerful teachers unions continue to push for school closures, many school districts are still turning a blind eye to the mounting evidence that remote learning has numerous negative consequences for many children. From increased depression and suicide attempts to massive learning loss, children forced out of the classroom are struggling. With vaccines and reliable treatments for COVID-19 widely available, there is no longer an excuse to close schools. It is time to stop teachers unions from using this pandemic to further their own political ends. We must put children first. 

ICYMI via The New York Times, continuing to harm children should not be an option.

No Way to Grow Up: American children are in crisis

By David Leonhardt

January 4, 2022

American children are starting 2022 in crisis.

I have long been aware that the pandemic was upending children’s lives. But until I spent time pulling together data and reading reports, I did not understand just how alarming the situation had become.

Children fell far behind in school during the first year of the pandemic and have not caught up. Among third through eighth graders, math and reading levels were all lower than normal this fall, according to NWEA, a research group.

Many children and teenagers are experiencing mental health problems, aggravated by the isolation and disruption of the pandemic. Three medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently declared a national state of emergency in children’s mental health.

Suicide attempts have risen… The number of E.R. visits for suspected suicide attempts by 12- to 17-year-old girls rose by 51 percent from early 2019 to early 2021, according to the C.D.C.

Many schools have still not returned to normal, worsening learning loss and social isolation. Once-normal aspects of school life — lunchtime, extracurricular activities, assemblies, school trips, parent-teacher conferences, reliable bus schedules — have been transformed if not eliminated.

Data now suggest that many changes to school routines are of questionable value in controlling the virus’s spread. Some researchers are skeptical that school closures reduce Covid cases in most instances.

The widespread availability of vaccines since last spring also raises an ethical question: Should children suffer to protect unvaccinated adults — who are voluntarily accepting Covid risk for themselves and increasing everybody else’s risk, too? Right now, the U.S. is effectively saying yes.

For the past two years, however, many communities in the U.S. have not really grappled with the trade-off. They have tried to minimize the spread of Covid — a worthy goal absent other factors — rather than minimizing the damage that Covid does to society. They have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults…

Read the full article here.

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