Home > Uncategorized > How Many Deaths Are Needed to Close a School District? How Many Cases are Needed to Close a School?

How Many Deaths Are Needed to Close a School District? How Many Cases are Needed to Close a School?

October 12, 2020

A recent post by Diane Ravitch’s highlighted the deaths of two teachers from COVID 19; a 71-year-old in South Carolina and a 47-year-old in Wisconsin. These cases were presented as a counterpoint to a recent Atlantic article written by an economist who declared that schools were not “super spreaders” of COVID. Based on recent news reports, COVID cases are running rampant in Wisconsin. Though Ravitch’s post did not elaborate on data from Wisconsin, she did provide an analysis of what was happening in South Carolina:

As of Oct. 5, more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections were associated with schools across the state, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported. There were 741 among students and 301 among staff.

In the Jasper County School District, fewer than five COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among faculty and staff at both Ridgeland Elementary School and Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, according to DHEC.

Two private schools in the county, John Paul II Catholic School and Thomas Heyward Academy, have reported fewer than five positive cases among students at each school.

None of the cases within the Jasper County schools was confirmed within the last 30 days, according to DHEC data.

As noted in many previous posts, schools are in an especially treacherous position when it comes to COVID. I doubt that the families of the two deceased teachers care whether schools are “super spreaders” on a statistical basis; they only know that a beloved parent has passed away. I also doubt that a parent of a child who was exposed to COVID by a classmate would be comforted knowing that their school had “only” five cases. And I also doubt that any of the 1,000 students and employees who got COVID are assured by the fact that no cases have been confirmed within the past 30 days. It’s more likely that a sizable minority of students and employees feel a degree of trepidation as they enter school. And if you are a school board member or administrator, you are faced with the question of how many cases of COVID are acceptable? And, regrettably, how many deaths are acceptable? 

If “ZERO” is the answer, it may be a very long time before schools can return to normal. 

Categories: Uncategorized
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