Just one week after schools reopened, one Mississippi town has 6 students and a staff member with coronavirus, and 116 students in quarantine
It’s officially back-to-school season, and despite the fact that there’s still a raging global pandemic and the U.S. is home to the most cases and the most deaths, some places are actually sending kids to in-person classes right now. And Corinth, Mississippi just became a national example of why that’s a really bad idea — the town has 116 kids in quarantine after first one student, and then six students and a staff member, tested positive for the coronavirus.
A strong contender for the “What Did You Think Was Going To Happen” award, Corinth didn’t even make it one week before there was a positive coronavirus test in a school: A high schooler who tested positive on Friday. And now, with five more positive cases and over a hundred kids missing classes because they’ve been forced into quarantine after being exposed, district officials are basically like, “This is fine, everything’s fine.”
“Just because you begin to have positive cases, that is not a reason for closing school,” Superintendent Lee Childress said in a Facebook Live broadcast earlier this week.
What’s really wild is that Corinth is far from the only place in the U.S. where these kinds of issues are happening, and yet, some cities and states are still going full steam ahead with reopening schools right now. In Georgia’s largest school district, 260 teachers were unable to attend lesson planning days because they had either tested positive for the coronavirus or been exposed to someone else who had. In Southeast Kansas, school administrators held a three-day retreat — and then six of them tested positive. And in Indiana, one school had only been open a few hours when the local health department informed them they had their first student test positive for the coronavirus. Not days. Hours.
Why are we still acting like opening schools is a good idea? Oh, yeah, because the Trump administration is pushing hard for it, and has threatened to cut off funding to schools that don’t hold in-person classes. Meanwhile, Trump’s own kid attends a private school that’s doing only virtual learning this fall. This administration has proven time and time again that looking good politically is more important to them than keeping Americans safe. Anyone with the ability to think critically can see that reopening schools is needlessly risking more lives. It’s time to stop politicizing that fact, and do what needs to be done to keep students, teachers, staff, and families safe.