Lauren Hassell '22
A number of American universities along with Staples High School have closed their doors out of fear. This fear spurred by the escalating panic and rapidness of the coronavirus’ spread has increased hygienic precautions. Despite the need for provisions to be taken, closing schools will not provide an effective solution.
Shutting down schools for days, weeks or even months will appreciably disrupt Americans’ lives. The closure of Staples has already shown its effect on students with summer plans since these lost days will be required to be made up at the end of the school year or during school vacations. With students being unable to attend classes, it will not only affect their educational development but the employment of parents. Parents of students will be forced to take time off of work to watch their kids, which will significantly harm those who are on hourly payroll. These employees who are paid at an hourly rate will not be paid when they leave the worksite, which is what will happen when they take leave.
As if the lives of parents’ have not already been made difficult enough, child care programs and social service programs will most likely be interrupted as well. Social service programs like the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provide free lunches to some 30 million students. With the closure of schools, these students will not be eligible for the free lunches they receive. For some students, school is also the safest place they can be and find relief in attending classes; however, this safe haven will be stripped from them with schools’ closures.
Instead of upsetting the daily routine of Americans, schools should remain open in order to spread awareness of ways students can be safe from the coronavirus. By remaining in school, students can be taught important precautions like how to disinfect their school desks or their home. Students can also be taught how to properly wash their hands. Schools can even take measures like arranging desks farther apart or enforcing janitors to clean more thoroughly. In fact, there is no current data that shows closing schools is making a difference in the coronavirus’s increasing rate of infection. There are many ways to educate about the virus and slow its spread, closing schools is not one of them.