Saturday, May 23, 2020

Response to CDC's Guidelines for Reopening Activities Initiatives (Schools and Childcare)

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for reopening certain activities in America. The actual study is called the "CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President's Plan for Opening America Up Again." The CDC recommended many different guidelines aimed at mass transit systems; restaurants and bars; employers with high-risk workers (medical for example); and schools and days, including the majority of childcare facilities. We could go on and on about all of the guidelines for all of the businesses I just mentioned, but as the father of two kids, I think it would be best to focus on the portions that solely focus on school, daycare, and other child care facilities. I am linking the actual document here, but the following picture does a great job of summarizing the guidelines for school. We are going to go through it and analyze the possible ramifications. I am going to try and take a more commonsense approach, as I lack the qualifications to talk about mental or medical dilemmas. 

I am not going to go over the obvious ones. For example, you should be reinforcing hygiene and cleanliness by focusing on making sure the kids (especially preschool and elementary age children) are practicing good handwashing methods. Let's actually get into the weed of things!
  1. I have no clue how anyone can and will be able to enforce the wear of masks on children over the age of two. My almost-three-year-old daughter would fall into this category. I can barely keep her in clothes most of the day; I have no clue how I would convince her with the mask. I find two big issues with enforcing this in small children. One, more time will be focused on ensuring the children will have to wear the mask instead of learning. I deal with this in the military a lot. Sometimes I ignore the high performers and instead have to focus on the troublemakers. This places the high performers at a disadvantage. Secondly, from experience with my kids, they learn a lot from the facial features and my expressions around this age. I am sure they would lack social development by understanding body language. I would like to do more research on this or have someone more qualified to talk about it.
  2. Not sharing of community tools, such as scissors, and teaching aids, sounds good on paper, but I think it would cause huge financial strain on both families and schools. Someone is going to have to pay for more aids and tools. Either the school or family will. With the state of the economy now, I do no think this will feasible for either. 
  3. This following point will cover all the space restrictions. This includes spacing desks six feet apart; spacing on the school bus to one kid per seat and skipping rows; and installing guards where this can not be met. You can also pull the staggering of arrival and departure times in this as well. Times are already staggered in most school districts, at least the ones I am familiar with, because in most cases there is not enough buses to accommodate all the moves. Honestly, I do not know where to even begin with this. This would probably be the biggest burner of money out of them all. You would need to hire more teachers; hire or contract more buses; build more schools, and remodel existing buildings. I mean this list can go on and on. This is likely to bankrupt school districts. Especially in a field where teachers are already underpaid and will threaten a strike. This already happened in West Virginia. 
  4. Providing pre-packaged food or box/bagged lunch seems good on paper, but is poorly executed. Sometimes school breakfast and lunch is the only meal some of these kids get a day for whatever reason. I believe the nutritional value of the food provided in these types of meals with not be conducive to a child's growth. I am provided similar meals in the Army, but that is only when it is impossible to bring a hot, cooked meal to my location. The kids need healthy and decent tasting food or there will be repercussions later in life.
  5. Limiting field trips, shared communal locations, external organizations, assemblies, and keeping the children with the same group all day are just all unfeasible. The school can not do everything, nor can one teacher. Even if, let's say, the art teacher makes rounds to all the classes, that teacher is still being in contact with possible infected students then spreading it to other rooms. This is the same for daily temperature checks. Field trips are paramount to a child's learning because everything can not be taught within the confines of the school. You must venture out to the lcoal museum to keep interested in academics, especially for younger kids with shorter attention spans. I was greatly influenced by outside organizations coming to my schools and teaching material the teachers were unqualified to teach. I can also see sports and other academic functions canceled for the same reasons. This would be an injustice to the kids.
I understand these are guidelines, but the federal government would expect school districts to meet a majority of them. That is if they surely want federal funding. It is hard to analyze just what would happen and the third-order effects but I know they will not be good. I see a lot of spending on things that will not do anything. I mean, the CDC just came out recently and said their previous assessments on the transmission on surfaces was wrong. We, as a nation, will be going further and further in debt, and this will all be China's fault. But this is a topic for another discussion.

If you like this post, consider following The Buser Report so you can get almost daily updates. I talk about everything. In a continuation of this post, I will be writing up a white paper on why I think China did this on purpose and what they expect to get out of the COVID-19 fiasco the world found itself in. Until then, thank you for reading. Follow and share with your friends and tell me what you think about this in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

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