Leave schools off COVID-19 hotspots list

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The ability of many schools to trace back a person’s contacts once they have tested positive for COVID-19 have proven to be effective and successful in stopping the virus’ spread.

Morgan Han-Lemus '23, Staff Writer

Cafes, restaurants, gyms, hotels and more have been classified as superspreader locations for COVID-19; however, schools have noticeably been left off of that growing list, and for good reason. Despite concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 in schools, they are not a hotspot for the virus and thus should not be classified as such. 

According to a study by The Atlantic, out of nearly 200,000 kids in 47 states from the last two weeks of September, the infection rate was only 0.13% among students and 0.24% among staff. Even in parts of the country that were considered to be of increased risk, they still concluded that the student’s infection rate was definitively under 0.5%. 

Even in states classified as red zones, such as Connecticut, there have still been no serious outbreaks of the virus within the school setting. This is a stark contrast to the numerous outbreaks of COVID-19 in other places, like the case in D.C. that reported 14% of COVID-19 outbreaks being linked to restaurants in only a four month time period. 

the absence of [a COVID-19] outbreak shows that students are taking the correct measures and safety precautions to protect both themselves and others from contracting the virus, and are able to make intelligent decisions.”

Additionally, holiday breaks that many people had concerns over because of the worry they would spread COVID-19 once school was back in session proved to be unnecessary. Thanksgiving, for example, has come and gone with no such outbreak, further solidifying the fact that school is a safe place to stay open. 

Although a significant number of students elected to go APO for the first two weeks after Thanksgiving break, the absence of an outbreak shows that students are taking the correct measures and safety precautions to protect both themselves and others from contracting the virus, and are able to make intelligent decisions. Therefore, even if parents, students or faculty were worried about being infected, this new age of online learning makes it possible to learn from home; something that has already been proven to be successful.

Some may argue that even if only some students or staff contract the virus, schools should still shut down because of the possibility of the virus spreading to another person. Although caution is always undeniably necessary when it comes to a global pandemic, there is no reason to close schools and harm students’ learning and development. The concern, while completely justified, contradicts the research proving that schools are not a COVID-19 hotspot. 

Overall, it is clear that school is not a COVID-19 hotspot and can be kept off the continuously growing list limiting the places it is safe to go to. Though there are still many limitations, even within the school, hopefully, the 2021-2022 academic year will be one that is without the constant worrying of superspreading sites and more about whether or not you turned in your math homework.