Schools Must Reconsider Accelerating Plans To Reopen In Light Of Dangerous New Covid-19 Variants

Nearly a year has passed since schools across the country began shuttering their doors to protect students, educators, and their families from Covid-19. Since then, many parents juggling work and schooling duties have incurred more stress while making less money; a high percentage of kids are suffering psychologically and losing their motivation to learn; and nearly a third of teachers across the US are contemplating leaving the profession altogether, so exhausted are they from the combined toll of continuous safety concerns, longer hours, and inadequate administrative support.

Given all this, it is understandable that most of the country’s 3,000-plus school districts see the current drop in new Covid-19 cases, as well as recent reports from CDC officials that affirm the success of safety protocols in reducing transmission in schools, as an opportunity to not only resume limited in-person learning but also accelerate plans to expand it come the 2021-22 school year. But if they want to keep schools safe, they’ll have to include a new factor in their calculations—the emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

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Originally published on Forbes (February 28, 2021)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.