o stop COVID-19 dead in its tracks, many governors, mayors and superintendents are threatening to keep schools closed this fall, failing to consider the greater harm that comes from refusing to open them.
“We have to make sure kids are safe, family members are safe, educators are safe, staff is safe,” says New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “If for any reason we are not confident of that, then you can just stick with the pure online learning.” Similarly, teacher unions insist that comprehensive testing, tracing and distancing are essential if reopening is to be done safely.
The irony in such language is that children are safe at school already. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that of the first 68,998 U.S. deaths from COVID-19, only 12 have been in children under age 14 — less than 0.02 percent. Nor is coronavirus killing teenagers. At last count, the fatality total among children under 18 without an underlying condition is one; only ten of the 16,469 confirmed coronavirus deaths in New York City were among those under the age of 18. That’s similar to the fatality rate for those under 20 in France, estimated at 0.001 percent, and in Spa