Letter: If there’s no school in the fall, where do kids go?
Working together to figure out how to safely get all of our children back to full-time school is a priority for many in our valley. Yet we must ask ourselves: does the science and data for Eagle County — as of today eight deaths from COVID-19 — support keeping healthy kids out of school? Or does it support keeping the vulnerable and those who have underlying conditions safe and protected instead? With one of the lowest COVID-19 fatality rates in the nation, perhaps we can really explore the need for full-time school for the social and emotional and academic needs of our children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 2% of COVID-19 of cases involve children, with less than 5% of those representing severe cases and under less than 1% critical. Those cases represent 0.02% of virus fatalities in the U.S., and very few children have been hospitalized.
Sadly, people in our valley are dying: we have had more suicides since March in the valley during the pandemic than deaths due to COVID-19. The hard truth is that the effects of the shutdown — economic, psychological and mental — have already killed more in the valley than the virus. I lost my mother to suicide, so these new statistics concern me on a deep and personal level. School is the safety net for so many of our children and without it, many will needlessly suffer.
As a community, how can parents be expected to go back to work without a predictable public school as well as child care? Are parents going to be asked to choose between feeding and sheltering their children and educating and caring for them? This is an impossible and unbearable choice for any parent to face.