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Public Health Expert Slams School Closures: ‘We Know How To Keep Schools Open’ And ‘Safe’

   DailyWire.com
A kindergarten room sits empty at Rogers International School as students from that class quarantine at home, according to parents, on October 21, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut.
John Moore/Getty Images

On Sunday, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health Dr. Ashish Jha appeared on “Fox News Sunday” with anchor Mike Emanuel to discuss issues relating to COVID-19.

During the segment, Emanuel noted that hundreds of schools are closing again as cases of coronavirus rise. He asked Jha if the United States is “headed for full-scale remote learning,” and which side of the debate is correct.

Jha replied, saying that the situation “is really unfortunate.”

“…here we are almost two years into the pandemic. We know how to keep schools open. We know how to keep them safe,” Jha said. “This really shouldn’t even be on the table, and I’m disappointed to see this is happening.”

Jha continued, stating that being in school is best for kids, both in terms of education and mental health. “And I think we can keep schools open, and we should absolutely keep schools open.”

“What about the other health concerns of shutting down schools in terms of school-age children such as mental, emotional, physical and social health?” Emanuel asked.

“Absolutely. This is why I, and I think many of us, have said schools should be absolutely the last place to close and the first place to open,” Jha said, conceding that staffing shortages could lead to some school closures.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of December 22, 668 people aged 0-17 have died with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. That accounts for approximately 0.08% of all deaths in the United States attributed to the illness.

Bloomberg’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker reports that as of Sunday, 61.7% of Americans are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, with 19.4% having gotten a booster shot. The United States falls below numerous countries in terms of vaccination rates, including the U.K., Sweden, Japan, France, and Chile.

There have been more than 52 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the John’s Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering dashboard, and 816,554 deaths.

TRANSCRIPT:

EMANUEL: The CDC is promoting its strategy, Test-to-Stay. Still more than 800 schools across the U.S. unexpectedly closed this week, according to Burbio, with more than 500 schools closed in the first week of January.

Dr. Jha, are we headed for full-scale remote learning? And as a public health matter, who is right in this debate, close versus stay open?

JHA: Yeah, this is really unfortunate, Mike. You know, here we are almost two years into the pandemic. We know how to keep schools open. We know how to keep them safe. This really shouldn’t even be on the table, and I’m disappointed to see this is happening.

We know that for kids, being in school is the right thing for them, for their mental health, for their education, and we have all sorts of tools to keep schools open. So, I don’t really understand why school districts are doing this. And I think we can keep schools open, and we should absolutely keep schools open.

EMANUEL: What about the other health concerns of shutting down schools in terms of school-age children such as mental, emotional, physical and social health?

JHA: Absolutely. This is why I, and I think many of us, have said schools should be absolutely the last place to close and the first place to open. There could be times when you have such severe staffing shortages that it may be hard to keep schools going. That really should be the only context I think at this point. Otherwise, schools should absolutely be open for the reasons you outline.

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