Thinking Citizen Blog — Re-opening Schools — Should kids be put first? Which kids?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day

Today’s Topic — Re-opening Schools — should kids be put first? which kids?

Do the risks outweigh the benefits? for whom? who should decide? how?

Clearly, the kids who suffer most from the lockdown are poor kids in unstable homes and unsafe neighborhoods for whom schools are a relatively safe haven. The longer the schools are shut down, the wider achievement gaps will grow. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 children under age 15 have died from Covid-19. In a typical year, 190 children die of the flu, 436 from suicide, 625 from homicide, and 4,114 from unintentional deaths such as drowning.” (See first link)

2. “Only two children under age 18 have died in Chicago — fewer than were killed in shootings in a recent weekend. In New York City, 0.03% of children under age 18 have been hospitalized for Covid and 7.5 in one million have died.” (ditto)

3. “In Sweden, which kept schools open, only 20 children under age 19–0.6% of confirmed cases — have been admitted to the ICU and only one has died.” (ditto)

NB: “Schools that have reopened in most countries, including Germany, Singapore, Norway, Denmark and Finland, haven’t experienced outbreaks.” (ditto)

VIRTUAL EDUCATION IS NOT WORKING — especially for the neediest

1. “A Reuters analysis last month found that fewer than half of 57 public school districts were taking attendance. About a third weren’t providing required services to special-needs students.”

2. “Research outfit NWEA has projected that “students are likely to return in fall 2020 with approximately 63–68% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year and with 37–50% of the learning gains in math.”

3. “Achievement gaps will surely increase. Affluent families may supplement and monitor their children’s virtual instruction while working from home. But how can a first-grader whose parents don’t have that luxury be expected to learn virtually on his own?”

NB: “Missing school can have serious consequences for child health and wellbeing, particularly for students with disabilities or with special healthcare needs,” American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) President Sally Goza said recently.”


1. “In Israel, where the virus has been surging again schools at every level have been affected. By early June, more than 100 schools had been shut and more than 13,000 students and teachers had been sent home to quarantine. The most notable outbreak was tied to a middle and high school: The Gymnasia Rehavia in Jerusalem saw 153 students and 25 staff test positive.” (5th link)

2. Risk appear to be higher for high school rather than primary school children.

3. Schools in Beijing were re-closed in early June. Hong Kong schools, re-opened in early June, but with a third wave of infections rising, closed a week early for summer break in July. Could not find more recent updates for Beijing or other cities in China.

NB: If schools are re-opened, at risk groups of teachers should be protected and there should be hazard pay.

Opinion | The Case for Reopening Schools

Opinion | Should Schools Reopen in the Fall?

Perspective | We can reopen schools in the fall — if we close bars and gyms now

The School Reopeners Think America Is Forgetting About Kids

Reopened schools in Europe and Asia have largely avoided coronavirus outbreaks. They have lessons for the U.S.

Schools Shut in Beijing as Coronavirus Flares

Opinion | A Grand Bargain to Reopen Public Schools


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.