70 Percent of Doctors Say This Is When They'll Send Their Kids Back to School
Epidemiologists share when they'll feel comfortable allowing their kids back in classrooms.
With summer in full swing, parents, children, and teachers have a moment of reprieve from the challenges of at-home education. But as the coronavirus continues to make its rounds throughout the country, many people are already wondering what the next school year will look like and when experts think it will be safe to send kids back into the classroom.
A recent study conducted by The New York Times found that 70 percent of epidemiologists said they would send their kids back to school, camp, or child care either right now, later this summer, or in the fall. Surprisingly the majority of the 511 epidemiologists consulted would sooner send their kids back to school than they'd attend a wedding, hug a friend, or go to a concert. A handful of experts said that "school was so important—both for their own careers and for their children’s development—that they were willing to take a risk that they would not for something less valuable."
For many of the people polled, their responses went far beyond a split-second decision. The factors that the epidemiologists took into consideration included "regional data, like the rate of infection transmission in their area, and the safety measures schools are taking"—as well as personal situations "like their family’s health risks, their work demands, and their children’s academic, social and emotional lives."
As much as parents, students, and teachers want in-person classes to start up again, the decision on when to send kids back to school comes with potential repercussions no matter what. On the one hand, missing more in-person instruction could be detrimental to students' long-term progress. "Unlike dining out, there is a far more substantial cost to keeping kids out of school," Arijit Nandi told The New York Times. While on the other hand, sending students back too soon could negatively affect teachers and other members of a school's staff.
While a large portion of epidemiologists surveyed stated that they would be comfortable sending their children back to school in the fall, a handful were adamant that they would only do so after a vaccine becomes available. Though this highly contested topic will continue evolving throughout the summer, based on public health experts' guidance and the orders of local officials, it seems some schools will prepare to open in September while others may remain shuttered. For more on what may happen with the educational system in the coming months, check out Dr. Anthony Fauci: Some States Can Reopen School in the Fall.