Public/Global Health

At least 1,000 US schools have closed due to Covid since late July: report

At least 1,000 schools across 31 states have closed down due to COVID-19 since classes began to resume in late July, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing data service Burbio.

The news outlet noted that it is difficult to tell how badly schools have been affected by the pandemic due to variations in reporting.

Aaron Baker, a 12th-grade government teacher in Oklahoma, told the Journal that his school is struggling to find enough staff members, while many students are missing class due to infection or exposure. Baker, who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, tested positive for for the virus after only one week of teaching fully in-person.

“That’s all it took—five days,” said Baker, who has since returned to teaching in-person.

A Texas school district temporarily closed down all of its campuses after two teachers died in the same week from COVID-19.

“Due to a continued increase in Covid-19 cases and an increase in absences (of staff and students), we have made the decision to close all Connally ISD campuses through Monday, September 6th,” the Connally Independent School District said in a letter to parents last week.

The majority of parents in the U.S. no longer want their children to be attending school full-time, according to a survey released by the National Parent Teacher Association last week. The CDC-funded survey found that 43 percent of parents wanted their children in a classroom full-time.

According to Burbio’s data, a review of the 200 largest school districts in the U.S. found that over 70 percent are requiring masks. The use of mask mandates in schools has become a heavily contested issue, with numerous Republican governors moving to ban mask mandates outright. 

Last month, President Biden criticized such governors, accusing them of “setting a dangerous tone.” And his administration is investigating whether mask mandate bans violate the civil rights of students with disabilities. 

“This isn’t about politics. It’s about keeping our children safe. It’s about taking on the virus together, united. I’ve made it clear that I’ll stand with those who are trying to do the right thing,” he said.

Tags coronavirus school closures COVID-19 Joe Biden school closings The Wall Street Journal

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