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Opinion: Both sides of the school reopening debate have it wrong

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Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/24/both-sides-school-reopening-debate-have-it-wrong/

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Opinion by Leana S. Wen

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Feb. 24, 2021 at 10:49 a.m. PST

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Both sides of the school reopening debate have it wrong. We shouldn’t be debating whether schools are safe to reopen. Instead, we should ask whether in-person schooling is essential. If it is — as many Americans, including President Biden, insist — then we should treat schools as we do hospitals. That means doing everything possible to them make safer, starting with vaccinating teachers.

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Mar 24
Abdulatif A (Mar 24 2021 2:33PM) : I agree more

I completely agree with this. The reason we’re not in school is because of COVID so why should we go back if we’re not going to do anything about it.

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Apr 25
Haithem S (Apr 25 2021 1:55PM) : Agree more

I agree with the author in this paragraph. Are main concern should be is reopening school safe for students and all the other people.

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The Biden administration has said that teachers should get priority for vaccinations, but leaves the decision up to the states. This is a mistake. If Biden’s 100-day goal is to get most K-8 schools open five days a week, he must make protecting teachers his top priority.

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Let’s face it: There won’t be a consensus on whether schools can be safe from the coronavirus. Reports of low in-school transmission can be countered with arguments that schools lack testing and tracing to account for cases. Also, the same data can lead to different conclusions. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its strategy for reopening schools, public health experts wrote competing op-eds, some arguing that the CDC guidelines are too strict and will unnecessarily keep students out of school, and others saying the opposite.

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As one of the public participants in the debate, I have come to see the conundrum and the error of both positions. Our dispute was not over the science, but the interpretation of it, because people have differing tolerance of risk. Some might say that if the risk of contracting the coronavirus in school is no greater than getting it from the community, that’s safe enough. Others would argue that because people can safely isolate at home, no amount of risk is acceptable. Any attempt to compromise and define what’s safe would result in a goalpost that changes any time there’s even one case of suspected in-school transmission.

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Mar 24
Abdulatif A (Mar 24 2021 2:37PM) : Falls information more

A person going to school has a grater chance of getting COVID than a person who does online school.

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Apr 25
Haithem S (Apr 25 2021 2:06PM) : Agree more

In my opinion, this is a true claim, and its’s also stronger from the one before it

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To move forward, I believe we need a complete reframing. Stop asking whether schools are safe. Instead, acknowledge that in-person instruction is essential; then apply the principles we learned from other essential services to keep schools open.

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Apr 25
Haithem S (Apr 25 2021 2:11PM) : Disagree more

I disagree with the author in this paragraph, safety is the first thing we should think about. One of the reasons the world shut done is for everyone’s safety.

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There are children for whom in-person instruction has been essential throughout the pandemic, who depend on school for food; who have special needs that can be met only in school; and who lack technology to engage in distance learning. Many other children are facing significant consequences from not being in school, including increasing behavioral and cognitive deficits and mental health challenges. The need for parents to work is also a factor.

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Mar 23
Marlene O (Mar 23 2021 1:12AM) : Agree more

I agree with the author in this paragraph, in the last article I read, it was giving us the message on a different perspective as ours. How the need of special assistance is required for students to hang on a stable life.

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For millions of families, the theoretical risk of contracting the coronavirus is already far outweighed by the real benefit of returning to school. Parents are choosing in-person school not because they think it’s safe, but in spite of possible risks, because of how essential schooling is.

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Similarly, hospitals had to keep operating during the pandemic not because they were safe, but because they were essential. So they made every effort to limit transmission there. They banned visitors, strictly enforced mask-wearing and implemented many infection control measures.

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And because health-care workers bore the disproportionate burden of virus risk, they were prioritized to receive vaccines. No one said that hospital operations had to close down until every doctor and nurse got vaccinated, but they were at the front of the line because of their occupational risk and the societal recognition that their work was essential.

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Mar 23
Marlene O (Mar 23 2021 1:15AM) : Emotions more

I believe the author is trying to open our eyes, and see how health-care workers were the first to risk their lives, before there was the vaccine that would probably end this pandemic, they were always there to help others, even if it was their job, it was such an unsafe move.

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We should be viewing school staff members the same way. Many are already teaching in person, including in schools where mask-wearing, social distancing and other mitigation measures aren’t fully in place. The federal government can play a decisive role to give them the additional protection they need. It can force the hand of the more than 20 states that haven’t made teachers eligible for vaccinations as a specific group by sending vaccines directly to school districts. They can deploy the National Guard as vaccinators. There’s sufficient supply that, within a month, all teachers who want to be vaccinated can be.

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Mar 23
Arooj S (Mar 23 2021 12:21AM) : Disagree more

In this paragraph, the author argues that schools should be treated as hospitals. Health-care providers are working without being vaccinated. However, I disagree because health-care professionals were required to work in order to save people’s lives, while teachers were required to stay home in order to assist those workers in reducing the spread of the virus. The teacher did not need to work at the school because the job could be done remotely. However, the operation cannot be completed remotely.

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In return, teachers need to accept, as other essential workers have, that returning to school will entail some risk. The covid-19 vaccines provide nearly 100 percent protection against severe disease. There is growing evidence that they also reduce transmission of disease. The privilege of jumping the line means returning to in-person work when the risk of infection is not — and might never be — zero.

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Mar 23
Arooj S (Mar 23 2021 12:25AM) : Logos more

In this paragraph, the author employs logos to demonstrate that the vaccine is effective and that it has the potential to decrease the risk of COVID transmission.

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Apr 25
Haithem S (Apr 25 2021 2:19PM) : Information more

If the vaccines were 100 or near 100 percent protection that would be good, but the problem every day I hear a new issue about the vaccines. They are not guaranteed.

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As we plan for the next academic year, the framework of understanding schools as essential will be even more important. Case counts might not drop low enough to guarantee schools will be free from the coronavirus. But just because we don’t meet everyone’s criteria for safety doesn’t mean that schools should never reopen. We should set the expectation that it’s essential to have every school back to in-person instruction by the fall, and do our best to reduce risk — especially by providing school staff members and, soon, all adult Americans the extraordinary protection of the coronavirus vaccine.

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Mar 23
Arooj S (Mar 23 2021 12:27AM) : :: more

The school needs to open one day but after everyone get vaccinated.

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Apr 25
Haithem S (Apr 25 2021 2:21PM) : Disagree more

I disagree because that’s not a safe way to think about it.

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About the author: Leana S. Wen, a Washington Post contributing columnist, is an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Previously, she served as Baltimore’s health commissioner

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DMU Timestamp: March 19, 2021 22:17

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Mar 22
sephora b (Mar 22 2021 10:11PM) : : [Edited] more

Yes! we all want to go back to school, but we need to make sure that everyone is safe. Also getting the vaccine doesn’t mean we are completely safe it just means that it will protect us if we get infected.

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Mar 22
sephora b (Mar 22 2021 10:13PM) : : [Edited] more

I didn’t know it was up to the states whether or not they want the teachers to get vaccinated.

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Mar 22
sephora b (Mar 22 2021 10:20PM) : : more

I disagree with this because many of us have families that have are at high risk if they get infected. We the young we might not be at risk but, people with high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, etc.. are in danger.

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Mar 22
sephora b (Mar 22 2021 10:24PM) : : more

If the district applies these rules( like hospitals do ) and does everything to make sure school is safe for everyone then we can make it work.

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Mar 22
sephora b (Mar 22 2021 10:30PM) : : more

When a problem gets too hard to solve we don’t give up, and say it’s not worth it. instead we fight for answers.

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