Earlier this month, just days before the first Connecticut health care workers were administered the newly-approved coronavirus vaccine, a coalition of public school employee unions demanded Governor Lamont close schools - and extend all school employees a full-pay-no-layoff guarantee.
What a striking juxtaposition between the selfless dedication of health care workers who have been treating patients hospitalized with serious – and highly contagious – cases of COVID-19 for nine straight months and the selfish outlook of the 14,000 petition signers, who, only over the last three months, started again to interact with school-age kids, who present the lowest risk of transmission of all segments of the population.
To demand the closing of schools is tantamount to desertion on the field of battle. The top generals in this war -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams -- have all said schools should be open. Fauci said this earlier this month even as the current surge of the virus was well under way.
School children themselves have virtually no risk from COVID-19. Of the 225,000 COVID-related deaths for which the CDC has demographic data, there have been only 130 school-age COVID-19 deaths, while 195 died of the seasonal flu during the 2019-2020 school year.
Schoolchildren do become infected. But do they spread the virus? That is a fair question for adult school employees.
Some studies published in the summer and early fall "suggest" that children may be "potential" spreaders, but they do not conclude that they are. Significantly, both Dr. Fauci and Director Redfield called for schools to be open after the publication of these studies, about which, presumably, they were aware.