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C.K. McClatchy High School, Sacramento. (Photo: SCUSD.edu)

Continued California School Shutdowns Could Reduce the Lifespans of Students

Scientific evidence shows in-school transmission rates are much lower than community transmission rates

By Katy Grimes, March 31, 2021 7:50 am

California is still the most strictly locked down state in the country, with Gov. Gavin Newsom now threatening to impose stricter lockdowns ahead of Easter. The governor told the state’s residents to resist multi-generational gatherings in homes with hugging and kissing.

Meanwhile, California’s public school children are still distance learning at home, stuck in front of computer screens as the state’s public schools and teachers unions continue to obstruct moving toward five-day-a-week classroom instruction.


According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, preventing California kids from attending in-person school will reduce their lifespans, by millions of years. “Future decisions regarding school closures during the pandemic should consider the association between educational disruption and decreased expected lifespan and give greater weight to the potential outcomes of school closure on children’s health,” the AMA Journal said.

Further debunking teachers union claims that in-person teaching isn’t safe, “recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Brown University have all found extremely low rates of COVID-19 transmission in schools that have stayed open during the pandemic, even in areas of high community transmission,” Lance Izumi, Director of Education Studies for the Pacific Research Institute reported. “The studies conclude that schools that have been closed can be reopened safely. The director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, has said that vaccinations for teachers are not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools, despite claims to the contrary by the teachers unions.”

Lance Izumi

In a new report on the Road to Reopening California schools, Izumi says school closures have resulted in huge learning losses in math and English for children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. “In California school districts, more students are receiving failing grades due to the pandemic and record numbers of students statewide are failing to enroll in school.”

“New data show that school closures have had a devastating impact on children’s mental and emotional health. Child suicides have skyrocketed in places like Clark County, Nevada and Pima County, Arizona. The CDC says that one in four young people have contemplated suicide and that emergency room visits by children for mental health problems have increased dramatically.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports:

In early 2020, school closures were widely instituted across the United States as a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) containment strategy. The rationale for closures was 2-fold. First, at least initially, the risks that the virus posed to children were unclear but worthy of precaution. Second, it was assumed that children might represent important vectors for disease spread even if they were themselves unaffected or asymptomatic. Both of these considerations appeared to justify the harm of missed education in order to minimize the population-level risk of disease. In the ensuing months, data have emerged indicating that COVID-19 infection poses significantly less direct risk to children to adults.1,2 While the scientific evidence on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by children remains in flux, recent studies indicate that young children (<10 years) appear less likely to serve as vectors for COVID-19 transmission.3,4 Although the risks of keeping schools open drove decisions made in the early phases of the pandemic, the probable harm to children associated with school closure were less explicitly discussed.5 The public debate has pitted “school closures” against “lives saved,” or the education of children against the health of the community. Presenting the tradeoffs in this way obscures the very real health consequences of interrupted education. 

Izumi reports on a key study issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the end of January 2021. “The CDC study looked at nearly 5,000 students and more than 650 staff members at 17 schools in Wisconsin. The schools examined included both public and private schools and covered all grade levels. Students and staff members at the schools wore masks and socially distanced when possible. All classes and lunch periods were held indoors.”

“The results of the study were eye opening,” Izumi said. “Out of the more than 5,500 students and staff who were studied, only seven cases of COVID being contracted due to in-school, person-to-person transmission were reported. All seven were between students. No adult staff person contracted COVID-19 through in-school transmission. Further, the CDC study noted that in the communities in which the schools were located there was widespread transmission of COVID-19. However, the study found, ‘Despite widespread community transmission, COVID-19 incidence in schools conducting in-person instruction was 37 percent lower than that in the surrounding community.’”

An October 2020 study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University looked at students in 19 states and estimated a loss of 57 to 183 days of learning in reading and a shocking 136 to 232 days of learning in math, Izumi reported.

Sadly Izumi concluded, “it seems more likely than ever that poor policy decisions by Governor Newsom and others to keep the schools closed for so long may have permanently derailed the learning for a great many students in California.”

“The collapse of both the learning and the emotional and mental wellbeing of children that have resulted from COVID school shutdowns illuminates the larger systemic problem in education—lack of educational choice for parents and children,” Izumi said. “Therefore, the real solution to the school closures is not just a narrow reopening of schools, as important as that is, but must encompass giving parents the opportunity to choose the learning option that best meets the needs of their children.”

Read: The Road to Reopening: Where we are and where we need to go to open up our schools and meet the needs of children

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4 thoughts on “Continued California School Shutdowns Could Reduce the Lifespans of Students

  1. Comrades
    We walked to school up hill in sleeting conditions with no lunch or pansy no salt/grease/sugar din din…..get a grip….you’re are worked even on so called conservative house organs-

  2. Why don’t they quit paying the teachers and see how fast they return to work? The teachers are making this about race and politics. They have no interest in what is best for the children. I will never understand why our governor does not take his “emergency” powers and resolve this issue.

  3. Get involved, join California School Choice Foundation. Go to http://www.californiaschoolchoice.org/
    In the meantime, get your kids out of public school. Just when you think it can’t get any worse than it is today, they implement a critical race theory and BLM curriculum. Remember, everyday that your kid is enrolled, the public school gets allocated funding. Get out now. What do you have to lose? Really?

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