A team of scientists slammed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday for misinterpreting their research and harming children by hamstringing schools with strict reopening guidelines.
What are the details?
In a blistering op-ed, published in USA Today, the researchers unequivocally declared, "Keeping schools closed or even partially closed, based on what we know now is unwarranted, is harming children, and has become a human rights issue."
They argued that despite the Biden administration's repeated promise to trust the science, the CDC was actually ignoring the science and operating from a position of unreasoning fear.
"The recent school reopening guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an example of fears influencing and resulting in misinterpretation of science and harmful policy," the researchers wrote. "In the United States, about half of schools are either in person or a hybrid. President Joe Biden ran on a campaign indicating that science and data would guide his policy. As we approach the anniversary of the first COVID-19 shut down, this approach is needed more than ever, especially when it comes to schools."
The CDC, though acknowledging in its guidance that "it is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open," has consistently issued needlessly stringent guidelines that ultimately cripple schools' ability to reopen. Many schools in an effort to remain in compliance find themselves wanting in terms of supplies or out of capacity due to social distancing.
The CDC even cites one of the scientist's research on virus transmission in Wisconsin schools, the scientists noted, yet it refuses to "take that data and new analyses from that data set into account."
"Here are the facts," the scientists state. "First, children are not at significant risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19 ... Second, viral spread is minimal in schools with appropriate safety precautions ... Third, no science supports mandating 6 feet of distance with children wearing masks ... Fourth, despite fearmongering regarding variants in America, we have not seen evidence that variants are spreading through in-person schools.
"States are getting the message" on how to safely reopen without unnecessarily restrictive mitigation measures, they continue, "Why hasn't the CDC?"
The researchers made sure to mention that school closures carry with them many dangerous short-term and long-term consequences. Those consequences include the upending of social development in younger children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as the inflicting of mental and psychological damage.
"We are observing a significant psychological epidemic in children with depression and anxiety due to the isolation associated with school closure, with suicidal behaviors," they grimly stated.
That is not even to mention the potentially millions of students who are now "missing" from school systems as a result of prolonged school closures.
"We must act for children," the scientists conclude. "And the science shows we can safely open our schools now for full-time (nonhybrid) learning and keep them open."