Families, communities, and nations are stronger when the rising generation is educated. However, the worldwide shutdown stopped them from going to school. No one knew how COVID-19 would affect different ages, so everyone was encouraged to stay home to flatten the curve. Now there is data that shows which age groups are affected most by the coronavirus, and children and teens under the age of 20 seem to fare best.
In March millions of parents suddenly found themselves home schooling their children in addition to all their other duties. The additional task was doable even though difficult when all family members were home. Now that businesses are opening, many of those same parents are now stretched between going back to work and taking care of their children. Since the data shows that “school-age children are at the lowest risk of mortality, of severe disease, and possibly of even contracting the virus. Reopening the school may be one of the safest activities” we can do as a nation, according to Kevin Pham at The Daily Signal.
The risk to school-aged children is low enough that several health and medical organizations around the world have endorsed a resumption of in-person schooling for children, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health of the U.K., and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands….
Children are at low risk themselves and present low risk to others, even if they have trouble following all the mitigation rules. At the same time, keeping children at home might expose them to considerable risks to their educational progress, their mental health, their nutrition, and alarmingly, even their safety and welfare.
In an ideal world, all children would have two parents, and one parent would be available to care for the children at home. Parents in this ideal home would have the ability to lovingly care for all their children’s needs. They could handle home schooling while preparing nutritious meals, and keeping children physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy and safe. However, we do not live in an ideal world.
There are homes with only one parent, and these single parents are already stretched thin. There are also homes where children are not safe from neglect and/or abuse. Teachers who see the children day after day are often the first to report such neglect or abuse. This is just one reason why schools should reopen as soon as possible.
I have fourteen grandchildren who are school age, and I know that their parents are concerned about what to do in the fall. All my grandchildren are fortunate to have parents who are qualified educationally to home school their children and homes where at least one parent is home during the school day. This summer the parents have had their children out of the house camping, hiking, riding bikes, boating, and many other activities. However, the grandchildren have missed their friends. Schools provide social life, and friends and social experiences are just as critical for healthy living as is education.
Ultimately, the parents will make the final decision about whether their children return to school next month or are home schooled. I hope that all parents make this decision on what is best for their child or children. We need our rising generation to be well educated because education strengthens families, communities, and nations.