News/Op-Ed: Students Return To Campuses Nationwide, But COVID-19 Remains A Challenge For Schools To Overcome

by Dominic Ramirez

As schools of all levels return to campus, COVID-19 remains a looming threat to the reopening effort across the country.

Photo by Emily Matthews/ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After a year and a half of online learning, schools are finally starting to reopen, but in doing so, they are putting kids at risk, especially those who are too young to be vaccinated. Various spikes in COVID-19 cases around the country have posed challenges to school leaders.

American children everywhere seem to be affected by the recent increase in COVID-19 cases among children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website, since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been a grand total of 4.8 million coronavirus cases among children in the United States, with somewhere around 204,000 cases being added since the last week of August. As a result, many schools across America are now considering going back to online learning.

Even as the schools in California are following the guidelines provided by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), COVID-19 cases are up. Since August 25, 2021 there have been 467,048 cases in children from age five to 17, an 11.2% increase from the previous couple weeks, according to the CDPH.

Outside of California, school communities and districts are being hit just as hard, if not harder. A school district in Waco, Texas has already had to shut down due to the death of two of their teachers. The two teachers, Natalia Chansler and David McCormick, both taught sixth grade social studies.

Meanwhile, in the state of Florida, there have been no less than 580,000 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of August, according to the Florida Department of Health. However, despite this, the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, is launching an effort to ban schools from forcing kids to wear masks. The Florida Department of Education even took away funding from two schools because they made wearing a mask mandatory on school grounds, a school policy change obviously connected to rising COVID-19 cases among children.

Citizens can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in their areas by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, thoroughly washing one’s hands and staying home if you feel sick.

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