School dilemma is hard on families, children alike

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward, Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

apple on teacher's deskParents and a national teachers union seem to be at odds as to whether students should be starting back to school.

The American Federation of Teachers is recommending remote learning for the coming school year – at least at the start – and is willing to support a teacher strike if school districts insist on in-person learning. Parents, in contrast, are anxious to get their children back in the classroom – and according to Dr. Bret Nicks of the Christian Medical Association, it's not just because they want their children out of the house.

"Children get so much more than just academics at school," Nicks contends. "They learn social [and] emotional skills, they get healthy meals and exercise, health support; and many times, these things cannot be replicated – not only online but at home."

He says it's been a tough go for many families who depend on schools for those types of necessities.

"The pandemic has been especially hard on families who rely on school lunches, those that have children with disabilities, those that lack healthcare or even the ability to actually have functional Internet at home," the physician points out.

Public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx are focused on the health aspects of the pandemic. Economists are looking at the U.S. economy. Teachers unions are interested in the health of their members. But when it comes to crafting public policy, Nicks argues that it's important for all stakeholders to have a say.

"It is really paramount that local leaders, public health experts, educators and parents have to be at the center of the discussion," he tells OneNewsNow. "What you're having in your community versus what we're having in my community as it relates to the ongoing outbreak is going to be distinctly different."

Nutrition-related mortality – an unexpected consequence

Meanwhile, governments around the world have instituted restrictions and lockdowns to combat the spread of COVID-19. But a new study finds those actions are harming children.

The study from Johns Hopkins University says coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns are causing the fatalities of thousands of children per month and stunting the growth of others. An official with UNICEF says it is "increasingly clear that the repercussions of the pandemic are causing more harm to children than the disease itself."

Matthews

Merrill Matthews, Ph.D. with the Institute for Policy Innovation doesn't think there's any reason to doubt the Johns Hopkins study – in fact, he tells OneNewsNow that he's surprised it's not worse.

"This is primarily due to the breaking up of supply chains of food – there are a lot of developing economies where access to food and health care are difficult even in the best of times," he explains.

"So, with the lockdowns and the break in supply chains and loss of jobs, this study anticipates that it's having a major impact on children in the form of about 10,000 children's deaths a month."

The study from Johns Hopkins is published in The Lancet medical journal (July 27, 2020).

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