Opinion writers express views about how to reopen public schools and on other topics as well.
Teachers Stay Home Due To Science, Then Ignore Science When It’s Time To Go Back
Chicago Public Schools have been on the verge of an illegal teachers strike, though Monday evening both sides made progress in talks. Still, without an agreement, thousands of children who already lost so much ground during the pandemic stand to suffer even more as the Chicago Teachers Union, and teacher unions in several suburban districts, prepare for full-blown strikes. Remember that the next time you hear union leaders claim to be a voice for “the children.” Here is some of the actual science that is making it harder for teachers unions to continue to justify staying home: On reopening schools and community spread: “The preponderance of available evidence from the fall school semester has been reassuring,” three researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in an opinion piece published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “… there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.” (2/1)
The Washington Post:
I’m A Fairfax Teacher, And I Want To Be Back In The Classroom
As a Fairfax County teacher, and after more than 300 days of teaching first grade from home, I am sad and frustrated. It’s infuriating that the Fairfax Education Association and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers are blocking a return to the classroom. These organizations do not speak for all teachers in Fairfax County, including me, and they certainly do not serve the students of Fairfax County well. More than half of Fairfax County Public Schools-based employees do not belong to a union, yet these associations claim to be the voice of FCPS employees. Private and parochial schools in Fairfax County and other public school systems in the greater metropolitan area have successfully returned to in-person school without community spread. (Lauren Downs, 1/29)
The Washington Post:
As An Educator, I Qualified For The Vaccine. Why Did I Feel So Guilty Getting It?
PHOENIX — “Isn’t it great to be here?” the woman asked as I pulled my car up next to her, under one of the white tents dotting the State Farm Stadium parking lot in Glendale, Ariz. I wasn’t so sure. Before the world changed, this had been prime tailgating territory. Now it’s the site of a 24/7 vaccination operation. I barely felt the prick of the needle that injected the covid-19 vaccine. Instead, I felt a swirl of emotions: privileged, blessed and guilty all at once. (Fernanda Santos, 1/26)
The Wall Street Journal:
Catholic Schools Are Beating Covid
Amid all the pain and disruption, a year of coronavirus has given Americans a new respect for those working to keep daily life as normal as possible, from the frontline nurse to the Amazon delivery man. Near the top of this honor roll is an especially unsung hero: the Catholic-school teacher. The National Catholic Education Association reports that its schools boast a total enrollment of 1,626,291. In ordinary times their teachers do an extraordinary job, especially for their poor and minority students. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor once said, “Catholic schools have been a pipeline to opportunity” for people like her—poor, Latina, raised by a single mom. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, Catholic-school administrators have moved heaven and earth to keep their classrooms open to new generations of Sotomayors. (William McGurn, 2/1)
Finding Common Ground On Stopping The Next Pandemic
As the new administration takes over pandemic relief efforts, whether continuing to distribute vaccines developed by Operation Warp Speed, or providing new economic relief, thinking about the next global pandemic may seem daunting. Yet there is no better time to confront the fact that the United States remains vulnerable to the next global pandemic. (Jim Richardson, 2/1)
The New York Times:
Long-Haul Covid And The Chronic Illness Debate
In this paper’s Sunday Magazine about a week ago, there were two powerful stories about so-called long-haul Covid — a form of the disease that seems to leave certain patients permanently sick, creating a legacy of chronic illness that may be with us long after vaccines have consigned the pandemic’s acute phase to the past. (Ross Douthat, 2/1)
HHS’s ‘Sunset Rule’ Will Save Money And Lives
There has been a lot of hand-wringing lately over a new regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services known as the sunset rule. This regulation, which was finalized in the waning days of the Trump administration, is meant to motivate HHS to periodically review its regulations to reduce their burdens on small businesses. It does so by attaching expiration dates — known as sunset provisions — to most rules under HHS authority. (James Broughel, 2/2)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.