Story at a glance

  • With a few months left until the traditional beginning of the school year, administrators are wondering whether to reopen or continue virtual education.
  • Some counties in California and elsewhere have decided not to reopen this fall, while others are insistent on sending kids to school.
  • While some countries have managed to send kids back to school safely, others have struggled with spikes in cases.

The decision of whether or not to reopen schools this fall despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has become highly politicized, especially ahead of a presidential election this November. Many Republicans are encouraging schools to open, while some school districts in Democratic-led California have already announced that they will hold fall classes virtually. 


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW

FAUCI WARNS YOUNG PEOPLE THEY ARE NOT IMMUNE TO ADVERSE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS

12 STATES SHOW RECORD SPIKES IN CORONAVIRUS CASES

HERE ARE THE 6 WAYS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD END

YOUR BLOOD TYPE MAY AFFECT WHETHER YOU GET CORONAVIRUS 


President Trump has pointed to other countries that have reopened schools to varying results. But the United States has reported more coronavirus cases than Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden combined, and new cases are still surging in several states. Many countries that have reopened schools also have universal health care systems, unlike the U.S., where millions of Americans do not have access to testing or health insurance if they are infected. 

Some countries have also sought to reduce classroom capacity and keep children in smaller “bubbles” of exposure. In Denmark, where schools reopened without a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, students are divided into groups of 12 under one teacher, arriving at separate times and remaining separate throughout the day. In New South Wales, students came to school just one day a week, split either by grade, last name or another method. 


America is changing FASTER THAN EVER. Add Changing America to your Facebook and Twitter feeds to stay engaged on the latest news and smartest insights.


Other countries have focused on mask-wearing and temperature checks, such as Vietnam and Japan. And if students or teachers are diagnosed with COVID-19, those exposed are quickly informed and self-isolated. 

For what not to do, Americans can learn from Israel, where cases have spiked since schools reopened, with at least 1,335 students and 691 staff infected by Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Only children in the first, second and third grades were initially sent back to school to learn in small, separated groups. But on May 17, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the entire school system would reopen, and the case numbers soared. The country also lifted bans on large gatherings at the same time, increasing the possibility of students being infected outside of the classroom. 

Even with all the right preventative measures in place, however, some countries, including Italy, Japan and France, have struggled to enforce them. Arnaud Fontanet, head of the Epidemiology of Emerging Diseases unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, told The Washington Post that there’s no guarantee students, especially younger ones, will follow the new rules. 

“Basically, the difficulty is enforcing social distancing among students,” Fontanet told The Washington Post. “People have more or less given up on that entirely at this stage.”


BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

COUNTRIES LED BY WOMEN HAVE FARED BETTER AGAINST CORONAVIRUS. WHY?

MORE THAN 8.7 MILLION CORONAVIRUS CASES WENT UNDETECTED IN MARCH

EXPERTS: 90% OF CORONAVIRUS DEATHS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

FAUCI PREDICTS ANOTHER CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN THE FALL WITH A 'VERY DIFFERENT' OUTCOME

TEXAS REPORTS SINGLE-DAY HIGH IN CORONAVIRUS DEATHS TWO WEEKS AFTER REOPENING

 




Published on Jul 15, 2020