Sunday schools

Fauci says to close the bars, to open the schools. Has it worked in Europe?

An increase in the number of new coronavirus cases has gripped the United States as school officials assess plans to reopen the spring semester amid a global pandemic.

The decision to bring students back for in-person instruction is at the forefront of their concerns. But even as the number of cases increases, infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci is in favor of keeping schools open. In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”, Fauci told “close bars and keep schools open, ”Business Insider reported.

“Obviously you don’t have a one size fits all,” he said. “But as I have said in the past, the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep children in school, or to bring them back to school.”

Fauci’s approach is similar to the approach taken by public health officials in much of Europe.

Primary schools in UK started to reopen in June for in-person instruction as the government slashed COVID-19 restrictions. At the time, the rate of new coronavirus cases in the country was “on a downward trend,” NPR reported. A report from the government’s public health agency later revealed the few cases related to schools who reopened were among the teachers – not the students, the Washington Post reported.

“The reopening of schools has been associated with very few outbreaks of COVID-19 after the national lockdown in England was relaxed,” Public Health England and other experts wrote in the report, according to the Post.

A study published in August by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control found something similar.

Citing the study, The New York Times reported that children represented less than 5% of all coronavirus cases reported in the European Union and Great Britain. The agency also said that closing schools would be “unlikely to provide significant additional protection for children’s health.”

This is partly why schools in England remained open when an influx of new COVID-19 cases prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to institute a second national containment in October. The lockdown expires on December 2.

Germany, which was seen as a leader in COVID-19 testing and virus containment at the start of the pandemic, has done the same with its schools.

Over 150,000 German students go back to school in August for in-person instruction, Time magazine reported. Students were divided into “cohorts” designed to limit outbreaks to smaller groups, and they were required to wear face masks and wash their hands regularly. Classrooms have also been redesigned “to allow for social distancing and better ventilation,” according to Time.

The Institute for Labor Economics determined in an October report that schools would reopen after summer vacation in Germany did not contribute to an increase in coronavirus cases Across the country.

Chancellor Angela Merkel chose to keep schools open when she announced a new round of pandemic restrictions that closed bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in Germany in October, The New York Times reported. Merkel cited “dramatic social consequences” associated with keeping students at home when releasing her decision.

French and Irish leaders echoed this sentiment by keeping schools open while putting other restrictions in place.

“We cannot and will not allow the future of our children and young people to be another victim of this disease,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said, according to The Times. “They need their education.

But not everyone is on board.

The National Education Union – one of England’s leading teachers’ unions – called the schools “a virus transmission engine”In a statement opposing Johnson’s decision to keep schools open amid a second coronavirus lockdown. The union added “it would be counterproductive for the government to impose a national lockdown, while ignoring the role of schools as a major contributor to the spread of the virus.”

German teachers have also expressed concern about schools following the multitude of restrictions designed to keep students and educators safe.

“We say yes, keep schools open and continue to follow the rules regarding infection levels,” said Heinz-Peter Meidinger, president of the German Teachers’ Association, according to the Times. “But don’t keep schools open at all costs.”

Henrik Saalbach, professor of education at the University of Leipzig, told the Pulitzer Center that German authorities should consider closing schools again if the numbers don’t change.

“I think and hope they are better prepared to do it,” he said.

Some experts also claim that the pandemic has played out differently in the United States and Europe, making it difficult to compare public health decisions.

“We have all read the studies and experiences in Europe. And they seem to have been pretty positive, ”Kathryn Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Time. “But the disease burden in European communities is much lower than what we are seeing. Europe has controlled the epidemic in most places more effectively than we have. “

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Hayley Fowler is a reporter for the Charlotte Observer and covers the latest real-time news in North and South Carolina. She graduated in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and previously worked as a legal reporter in New York City before joining The Observer in 2019.

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