The Key to a Safer School in the Face of a Pandemic

Op-Ed: New test scores show students lost a lot of ground in the pandemic. Overreacting won’t help — at least not in the short term.

This may be an old headline from the New York Daily News, but it’s so true: In just four weeks, U.S. government and private-sector testing of children has more than doubled.

With good reason: the virus is ravaging our children’s health. The latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a 40% increase in children aged 2 to 19 who have been seriously ill compared to their normal healthy-child rates. Nearly one-third have lost nearly 3 months of school because of COVID-19.

The numbers, as they are for the rest of the world, are staggering — or terrifying, if you’re a parent struggling daily in the face of a pandemic.

To be clear, the increase in children testing for COVID-19 during a time when adults are dying like flies is a good thing. It’s our job to ensure that children are at least as safe as we are when it comes to disease. And the more testing we do, the more we can learn about the virus’ spread, how it spreads and how we can best protect our children.

How we do that is the key: with simple, accurate information rather than overreactions or panic.

We’ve seen the worst of this.

The last decade has produced a generation of over-reactions, both private and public — particularly from the schools that are supposed to be “preserving” our nation’s heritage and culture. Schools have become battlegrounds in a war over what is best for kids. There’s the rush to implement “social distancing” and the fear of being “too social.” There’s the drive to open our doors to students with special needs and the fear of losing the learning experience for kids who don’t have it.

The result is the same: kids are left in the dark and confused. Parents

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