Fear of COVID-19: Collateral damage of closed schools is worse than the risk of the virus

Functioning schools are the backbone of society. Especially for younger children and for lower socioeconomic groups, schools are at the center of mental health care, nutrition, vaccination compliance, and even making sure that child abuse is being reported. The shuttering of schools across the country has a deep impact on the psyche of not just students, but also teachers and parents. Solo online learning has disrupted everyone’s lives. 

Teachers across the country have resisted the call to return, afraid for their own health, concerned that proposed plans to ensure physical distancing, masking, COVID-19 screening and rapid testing have not actually been instituted. Their concern is legitimate, if a plan to protect them is not in place. Several physicians have told me their teacher/patients are already asking for doctor’s notes in August.

Multiple going back to school plans 

In New York, the United Federation of Teachers Solidarity caucus has opposed Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to reopen New York City Schools two to three days a week and asked for the immediate resignation of School Chancellor Richard Carranza. This is wrong. New York City has few new cases and is trying very hard to put an effective plan in place.

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