Schools as a Top Priority – Rethinking the Risk Trade-offs
I stopped short after reading Aaron Carroll’s When it Comes to Covid-19, Most of Us Have Risk Exactly Backward article in the New York Times. He calls out our typical thinking that if school is open and kids are seeing one another, why not let down our guard down and allow more socializing? Why not see a friend after school? Loosen up the precautions a bit.
Carroll makes the case that if keeping our schools open and our children healthy is indeed our top priority, then we should be making choices that add on to their safety. Every safe decision helps reduce risk. Every time we remind our child to keep the mask on, wash hands, stay home instead of visiting a friend, we are helping reduce risk. Pile on the safety.
Every family that sends a child to school is contributing to the risk level. That means it is up to each family to consider the sacrifices they will make to keep their level of risk low. Those decisions will vary by family, but the important point is that they look at the pool of exposure from the family and make active choices to be safe.
Our communities have been asked to look at risk levels when considering school openings. In our state, the community risk levels are still too high for our schools to open safely. We want it all. All public services, stores, and restaurants open, along with our students happily in the classroom and football games being played on Friday night. It is still an impossible equation. Until we get this virus under control, parents will have to counter with their own set of guidelines to ladle on as much safety as possible.
School first. And actions that support that priority. Got it. Thanks, Aaron, for getting my thinking turned around.