Monday, July 27, 2020

Open the schools, part 2

The Baltimore Sun published my op-ed in May, but it did not run my letter to the editor I submitted 10 days ago. Here is the letter:
As counties roll out their school re-opening plans, parents have learned that the state will not allow children to attend school five days per week. Apparently the state board of education has decided that five-day school is a Stage Three “high risk” activity on par with events in large entertainment venues. 
That decision is perplexing, as it has no basis in evidence. The research overwhelmingly shows that children are less susceptible to the virus and less likely to transmit it. Schools have opened in Europe with little problem, and elementary schools are especially safe. 
The decision is perplexing for another reason as well: It was never mentioned in Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery” or in the model plan from the American Enterprise Institute. Indeed, the ban on five-day school simply does not square with the rest of Maryland policy. For example, according to the Roadmap’s Stage Two rules that we currently live under, adults can make daily trips to the gym where they breathe heavily amidst a varying group of strangers. And yet five-day school is too risky? 
We need a school policy that is both grounded in scientific evidence and consistent with the Roadmap. Right now we have neither. I urge the governor’s office to step in and re-evaluate.

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