July 9, 2020 - 9:00 pm
Updated July 9, 2020 - 10:05 pm
It defies logic to think Clark County schools can open in August with 100 percent in-person learning (Victor Joecks, Sunday column). Mr. Joecks mentioned Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statement that, “We need to do whatever we can to get the children back to school.” However, we cannot overlook what he explains is essential: that it “will depend on the dynamics of the outbreak and the particular location of where the school is.”
In Clark County, the dynamics of the outbreak are bleak. Dr. Fauci says that if we adhere to many of the guidelines we have heard about — physical distancing, the use of masks and things like that – it will help keep the level of infection in the community down, which will then make it easier to get children back to school. Unfortunately, as we saw in last week’s OSHA report, only 50 percent of restaurants and bars are adhering to the mask directive. It informs us that we aren’t ready to be 100 percent yet.
The district cannot emulate the reopening success of countries such as the Netherlands, Iceland and Canada right now. These are countries with significant downward trajectories of positive COVID-19 cases. Israel, whose COVID-19 positive graph is similar to the ours, opened schools and then closed after a spike in cases within them.
It will be essential for any school district reopening plan to be nimble and at the micro level rather than a broad “full-time for everyone.” We are not in an ideal situation. A conservative plan that can weather an uptick in cases fares better than a naive one for 100 percent in-person learning that will implode.