The people at the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics have worked hard to ensure the “safety” of children in school since the COVID debacle began. Last year, the CDC posted a document titled “Easy as ABC” to help parents to prepare their children for emergencies at school that might require separation from parents overnight. The guidelines included:
Bring extra medicines, special food, or supplies your child would need if you were separated overnight
Complete the backpack card and tuck in your child’s backpack and your wallet – this includes social needs, medical conditions, allergies and other important information
At about the same time that these guidelines were posted, the Ohio Department of Health issued an order creating Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shelters to be used for people who “are unable to safely self-quarantine in their place of residence and to isolate those diagnosed with or showing symptoms of COVID-19.”
According to (at the time) Director Lance Himes, people who would qualify for quarantine would include those who “test positive for COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization but need isolation (including those exiting from hospitals); those who have been exposed to COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization; and asymptomatic high-risk individuals needing social distancing as a precautionary measure.” Almost anyone, including a child, or even many children in one place, such as at a school, could qualify with such a broad definition.
Dan Tierney, Press Secretary to Emperor DeWine of Ohio, provided even more concerning information while trying to reassure people that quarantines, and camps were really a great idea. He disclosed that the federal government would reimburse the state for quarantined people, and then added, “The intent of the order is to provide a safe and healthy space for the individual who needs to be quarantined or isolated as determined by local needs. This also helps protect family members from exposure.” This statement indicates an expectation that people could be removed from their homes. “As determined by local needs” remains ambiguous as an answer to the question of who decides whether a person’s residence is safe,” Tierney said.
Why am I bringing this up now? The American Rescue Plan, signed into law in March 2021, includes $122 billion for schools, some of which is to be used for COVID-related enforcement. One of the criteria for schools who applied for grants from this fund was to publish the extent to which the school or school system will address CDC guidance in these areas:
- universal and correct wearing of masks
- physical distancing (e.g. including use of cohorts/podding)
- handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities including improving ventilation
- contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local, territorial, or tribal health departments
- diagnostic and screening testing
- efforts to improve vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students
Some schools have posted detailed policies related to these issues – enough to make any parent concerned. Others have posted far more general information so as not to alarm parents. Most school officials have told parents that masking will not be required. I’ve been opining for several weeks now that this is not true, and this false promise is being used to distract parents and make them think that the schools will be psychologically safe places for kids this fall.
When parents press school officials for more details, they often receive responses that are much more forthright. For example, Trent Bowers, Superintendent of Worthington Schools in central Ohio, wrote that the Worthington schools intended to create a “mask-friendly environment” for students. This is troublesome since there are dozens of reports of masked children and teachers bullying unmasked children who were exempt from mask-wearing last year due to medical issues. Bowers also reported that the Worthington Schools can’t have policies that differ from other school systems in the area since we all “share the same communities.” This should get rid of any remaining hope that parents hold that they will have any influence over school policies. Almost all schools will do what the others are doing, and they almost all state that they will defer to public health officials.
But perhaps most chilling was this: Bowers wrote, “We’re waiting to hear from our local health departments on how quarantine will work if there is a positive case in the classroom and we’re watching potential statewide legislation…we’ll see how things go.” There’s that pesky and most concerning word again – “quarantine.”
In case anyone still harbors the illusion that America’s pediatricians will intervene to protect children, the latest announcement from their trade group should put this crazy thought to rest. On Monday, July 19, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement titled “Covid-19 Guidance for Safe Schools.” In this document, AAP calls for all children over the age of two to wear masks when they return to school this fall, regardless of their vaccination status. This is much more restrictive than guidance from
the CDC which recommends that students remain 6 feet apart in classrooms and masks should be worn by unvaccinated people.
The justification for this nonsense, according to the AAP, is that masks have proven to be effective for reducing transmission of the virus, a statement that is patently false.
The AAP also encouraged all “eligible individuals” to receive a COVID vaccine.
The AAP recommended that school districts communicate and coordinate with state and local public health authorities, school nurses, pediatric providers, and other medical experts. It also encouraged families to get caught up on vaccinations they may have missed during the pandemic, including the flu vaccine.
If this information makes you nervous and you are thinking about not enrolling your children in school this fall, we can help you. We are going to hold informational sessions for parents to discuss this problem and provide options. We are also going to provide experienced parents and coaches to help parents transition to alternative education. There will be no charge for this assistance; the only requirement is to be a member of Make Americans Free Again (www.makeamericansfreeagain.com) and to belong to one of our Thursday groups. (note – if you are not a member of a group we can help you start one right now!)
email email@example.com if you are a parent who needs help, or a teacher or experienced parent who can provide help.
Pamela A. Popper, President
Wellness Forum Health