NOTE: Updated last on 3/13 – School is now closed until March 27th.
My opinion is that classes should not be held while all signs point to the emerging coronavirus pandemic growing around the world and our area not being spared from it. I feel strongly that there’s no time to hesitate. We have a larger than average, vulnerable population in South Florida. Here especially, it’s wiser to err more on the side of caution than other places around the country might.
Our schools should be making more than plans, but start readying faculty for the move to get all children out of classrooms as quickly as possible. Without decisive actions being taken now, like are being taken around the world, there’s too large of a risk our public health system will become overwhelmed. The progression of the Covid-19 virus is too rapid to risk our local, more vulnerable population’s lives. In order to prevent panic and rumors, any plans should, of course, be shared with parents as they’re being discussed. Our community is the stakeholder of these decisions, nobody else.
Every parent knows how rapidly colds and flus spread among school kids. Given how transmissible this new virus is, it is likely to spread faster than colds and flus. Even though the documented cases of people getting very sick and dying are mostly elderly people, kids can bring it home. Keeping the kids in school means it being taken home to parents, passed on to grandparents and neighbors.
Would you rather believe people are over-reacting to Covid-19?
Doesn’t it seem wiser to learn we over-reacted in hindsight? How’s it going to hurt if we over-react? How might it hurt if we don’t?
What can you do right now?
Spread this article around. Share it on social media. Help school officials see what your opinion about it is. Help them make the right choices quickly. Hopefully, we can all look back soon and say we over-reacted.
3/13/2020 Update – Dr. Fennoy closed schools until March 27th. Kudos Dr. Fennoy. Thank you for your response. Let’s hope time lets us look back gives us the luxury of questioning whether it was an over-reaction. If we do find out that was the case, lets remember how little we still knew now. No matter what the hindsight affords us, let’s remember that Dr. Fennoy did what was most prudent.
3/12/2020 Update – While the coronavirus epidemic has now been characterized as a pandemic by the WHO, the number of reported active cases is slowly rising again. Here in the USA, among the 1600 cases reported there have been 40 deaths attributed to coronavirus while only 10 patients are being characterized as in serious condition. It’s expected, however, that the scope of contagion goes beyond reported numbers by some order of magnitude. This is difficult to gauge because the majority of people testing positive in the USA only have mild symptoms. It’s likely that many people are infected with the virus and transmitting it, but not showing symptoms.
Based on these current conditions where so much uncertainty remains, and based on the response of major organizations and government offices, deciding to close, it’s still the opinion of this author that it would be wise to err on the side of caution and postpone meeting at schools, cancel classes on public school campuses and use the already existing Google Classroom and other online systems already at use in schools to conduct classes and give assignments remotely.
I have to assume School District Administrators are already putting plans in motion, but we, as parents, haven’t had plans shared with us yet.
Administrators plan to “take the temperature” of the community with a survey about this issue, circulated to principals soon. Parents are urged to participate in the survey when administrators share it with principals and then the principals share it with them.
It’s the opinion of this author that parent response to this survey is nice to have, but efforts to move classes online and get kids out of the classroom shouldn’t wait around for survey responses. Instead administrators need to act decisively now.
3/10/2020 Update – In spite of a lot of testing going on around the world, the number of active cases continues to drop. The virus continues to spread geographically, but the number of infected people is actually going down around the world and in the USA. China’s government declared victory over the outbreak today. South Korea’s mortality of coronavirus, at 0.71 % (54 deaths / 7,513 total people testing positive since outbreak began) is exceptionally low compared to Italy’s 6.2% (631 deaths / 10,149 total people testing positive since outbreak began).
In the USA today there have been 647 total cases since Jan 1st. 25 of those cases have resulted in deaths. This makes the mortality rate 3.9%. The majority of those cases cannot be traced back to travelling or being in contact with someone who was travelling recently. 528 of the 647 infections were caused by unknown reasons. According to the CDC, at 7:07pm EDT, no new cases of infection were detected yesterday or the day before yesterday.
3/9/2020 Update – The numbers of active cases reported are different than the total number of infections detected over time. Based on the numbers coming out of China it could be said that the number of active cases is decreasing. However, the US media industry and the stock market are sending nothing by pessimistic projections at the moment. Even if it is more likely that the media industry and stock markets are wrong about Covid-19’s impact, the need to have an plan in place isn’t diminished. If the numbers coming out of China are accurate, and there is a genuine decrease in active cases, it is no longer the case where ALL signs point to the emerging coronavirus pandemic growing. Most signs do still point to the number of cases increasing, but if we continue to see the numbers of active cases decreasing, the need for drastic measures, like closing schools, diminishes.