Since the beginning of last summer, political leaders in the U.S., backed by their health experts and amplified by a mainstream media glad to accommodate, have been putting forth the notion that schools are “super-spreader” environments requiring the need to be extremely cautious about reopening.
For example, back on 20 August, Healthline published the article, “How Schools Can Easily Become ‘Super-spreaders’ of COVID-19.” It pointed out that confirmed cases of COVID-19 among children was rising across the U.S. and if schools considered reopening, they would need to put in strict preventative measure including mask-wearing, physical distancing, and staggered class schedules.
Quoted from the article: “Experts tell Healthline that schools—especially those situated in states where cases are rising—can be the perfect setting for what’s called a super-spreading event.”
In the article, Dr. Marybeth Sexton, a former public-school teacher who is now an assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Emory University in Georgia, said,
“If you don’t have masking and distancing regulations in place, and each one of those people goes on to infect two to three other people, and then they infect two to three other people, and they infect two to three other people, very quickly you’re going to have a situation where you’re going to have to shut a school down.”
Florida has proven the “super-spreader” fear to be completely made-up.
Despite scientific data from Europe that schools should be open, the 19 June British Medical Journal study, “Children are not COVID-19 super spreaders: time to go back to school,” and having no hard data confirming schools were potential “super-spreaders,” in the U.S., schools were generally not reopened last fall.
The Wall Street Journal reported on 1 December:
“Most of Europe kept schools open even during a worst-on-the-planet second wave of infections this fall. And still, schools appear to be relatively safe environments, public health officials say.”
Florida on the Right Course
Now comes reporting from the 18 March Wall Street Journal:
Florida Reopened Their Schools and No “Super-spreaders” Were Triggered, Report Says
The article points out how Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis came under heavy political and media attack for allowing children back into schools too soon last August.
Commissioner Corcoran told the WSJ that currently, 80 percent of the state’s students are back in classrooms. The updated data shows:
“Florida consistently has had lower rates of COVID-19 in schools than in the community at large, according to a data dashboard created by Brown University, data company Qualtrics and others. In the last two weeks of February, the daily case rate per 100,000 people was 22 among students and 15 among school staff, compared with 27 in the community, according to the data. In earlier periods going back to October, the student and staff rates were almost always less than half the community rate.”
Commissioner Corcoran stated the data shows, “Having kids in school is the safest place for them to be. We did have a plan and it was based on facts and science.”
It should also be noted that neither mask mandates, social distancing, or quarantines were uniformly ordered or implemented, so they can’t be cited as the main reasons for the low viral spread within schools.
During the entire pandemic, Florida has recorded 41 working school employees and nine schoolchildren have died from COVID-19.
TRENDPOST: In addition to the current news out of Florida, on 26 January, Yahoo News reported on data from Wisconsin: “CDC finds ‘little evidence’ schools have ‘contributed meaningfully’ to coronavirus spread in communities.” The report about Wisconsin schools also cited a crucial fact that goes under-reported in most media: “There were no reported instances of child-to-adult transmission.”
It’s also interesting to note the continued media use of the term, “super-spreaders,” which, by giving the virus issue a scary-sounding name, is another way to instigate fear and anxiety. As Dr. Robert Amler, the dean of New York Medical College’s School of Health Sciences and Practice stated, “‘Super-spreader’ is a conversational term and not a scientific phrase.”