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Michelle Čertík

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Feb 9, 2021, 2:57:00 PM2/9/21
to Kurt Steinhaus, public....@laschools.net

Dr. Steinhaus and School Board Members,


There are a number of opinions regarding returning to school, and still, there seems to be a lot of fear.  Teachers may be reluctant to return to teaching in person, and parents may be afraid to send their children school.  However, at some point we will need to return to the classroom.  In my opinion, the time is now.  Coronavirus will continue to mutate; this vaccine is not a “one and done” type, and as the virus mutates the vaccine will be adapted to elicit an immune response to the different evolutions.  As the vaccine evolves, will we stop school for teachers’ comfort, so they can all get their new vaccination?  As of now, teachers are starting to be vaccinated.  Children under 16 are not even eligible for the vaccine, and most likely won't be for one to two years.  We cannot continue to postpone school to appease the fears of teachers and parents.   Grocery store workers, stylists, medical providers, people working at retail stores, restaurants, gas station workers - they all continue to show up at their jobs each day, vaccinated or not, and interact with people of the community and surrounding communities.  Teachers, likewise, can show up to do their jobs in person.  Kids are falling behind, their mental health is declining, and their physical health is declining as well.  In addition, they are not receiving the social interaction skills that they will need in the future. I can see lapses in my three young sons.  My kindergartener has been very negatively impacted by online schooling, the two hours twice a week is not helpful.  He needs in person school.  My second grader we pulled because online schooling was so poorly conducted.  We are eager to re-enroll him when school is open.  In other countries, which have very strict covid precautions, with curfews, closed stores, regulated outdoor time, they continue to keep schools open.  Why?  Because keeping children’s educational progress intact is important.  We are neglecting our children’s health, well being, and education by selfishly continuing online school with minimal in person schooling, when the governor has finally permitted schools to open.  Please do right by our children and open, at minimum, elementary schools full time or 2 day hybrid. 


I am attaching a few studies for you to enjoy.  These studies support in person schooling and illustrate the low transmission rate between student and teacher as well as between student and student.  Students and teachers are much more likely to contract covid-19 at the grocery store, traveling or seeing their “one or two friends”.  Please, increase the duration kids are currently in school to full time or at least two full days a week.


Studies:

Wisconsin study following 17 schools, students in grades K-12, showed no transmission between student and teacher and very low infection rate between students.  They did show a much higher infection rate from activities teachers and students were doing in the community.

Falk A, Benda A, Falk P, Steffen S, Wallace Z, Høeg TB. COVID-19 Cases and Transmission in 17 K–12 Schools — Wood County, Wisconsin, August 31–November 29, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:136–140. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7004e3


A study in NC of 56 schools, 35 with in person schooling.  Seven hundred and seventy three community acquired Covid-19 cases, only 32 attributed to spread in the classrooms.  No transmission between staff/teachers and students.

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2021/01/06/peds.2020-048090 (this link contains link to full PDF article)


Another student in Michigan and Washington: similar findings.  Covid spread amongst community members is largely found outside of schools, not in them.

https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2020-12-23/new-study-cautiously-suggests-schools-dont-increase-spread-of-coronavirus (this link contains the link to the PDF article)


Please “follow the science” and re-open schools more.  Kids can handle another change and so can teachers.  


Thank you for your time.


Michelle Certik


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