We Want Kids Back In School, But We Can't Pull The Wool Over Our Eyes

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 
Scary Mommy and kevajefimija/Getty

Yay, it’s back to school time! Time for sales. Time for taking cutesy pics on your front steps. Time to moan about how they’re oh so big, where did time go, soon they’ll be in high school. Time to pack lunches. To march your moppets off to the bus stop. To finally put kids back in school where they belong.

Time to catch COVID-19.

But! Children don’t catch Covid! (Lie). Children only get asymptomatic cases! (Another lie). Even if kids get symptoms, Covid is more like a cold for them! (Lie, and some pediatric ICUs are full to capacity, including those in both Columbia and Charleston, SC). Kids don’t die from Covid! (Lie. We’ve lost kids to Covid in the US, and multi-system inflammatory syndrome [MIS-C], a serious and sometimes deadly disease that the CDC says can cause inflammation of “the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs,” has affected at least 4,404 children as of July 30th). We’re finally getting back to normal!

The biggest lie of all.


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The Delta Variant Changes Everything

We know that Delta is far more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain. We know it’s utterly ravaging the unvaccinated population of the United States. And children under 12 can’t be vaccinated. This is a list of known facts I don’t have to cite because they’re common fucking knowledge.

So for this back-to-school season, we’re not only raiding Target for cheap pens and notebooks, we’re also cramming a horde of unvaccinated people, some of whom will be asymptomatic, into poorly ventilated rooms, without social distancing, for hours at a time. Many of those people will be unmasked, since mouth-breathing governors, including those in Florida and South Carolina, have banned mask mandates, and selfish-ass parents think their kids don’t need to cover their faceholes, despite all evidence to the contrary.

South Carolina’s governor, who despite his accent is not actually Foghorn Leghorn in a poorly-fitted human suit, says that children “can’t perform, can’t learn” with masks on, and that masks are “unnecessary.” Voldemort Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, where COVID-19 deaths have now exceeded his electoral margin of victory, has threatened to withhold salaries of school officials who enact mask mandates.

Look, boys, girls, and others: we want our kids back in school. No one wants to return to the shitshow of virtual learning. Working parents literally ain’t got time for that and kids need socialization. But chucking them unmasked and undistanced into schools while the Delta variant is sending them to the hospital at the same rate as January will create another surge. Surge number four? Surge number five? We’ve lost count of surges and should probably just start naming them like hurricanes. Let’s call this one Noah, after the top baby boy name the year our kindergarteners were born!

Kids Need To Be Back In School

A year and a half into a global pandemic that’s created agoraphobics out of anyone who’s paying attention, we’ve reached a breaking point: kids need to be back in school. So calm your tits, Karen: no one’s advocating a kicking-and-screaming return to virtual learning. But with COVID-19 numbers that we haven’t seen since January despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, we need a shot of tequila, a shot of Moderna, and a dose of reality. Kids returning to school without masks or social distancing will cause another surge (Noah), but this time, only among the unvaccinated. We’re giving the virus a chance to evolve and killing off those who refuse to adapt. It’s both biological and social Darwinism!

This back-to-school season, America should be feeling like Jessie Spano on caffeine pills: so excited — and so scared. Instead, we’re chucking our children into the equivalent of a level four biohazard without so much as an eyeblink. They need baby Yoda masks, plexiglass barriers, distancing regulations, and ventilation. Instead they’re getting wannabe Sith Lords screaming about civil rights.

Bitches, you never complained about no-shirt-no-shoes-no-service. You wear a polo to your golf course and a tie to your dope-ass, probably racist country club. If masks will save children’s lives when they go back in school, why are you banning them? Letting Covid breathe freely in our schools is like letting Anakin Skywalker loose in the Jedi Temple (he murdered all the younglings, or whateverthefuck baby padawan are called. Remember your prequels, people). So let’s not walk into this school year in denial. Kids will get Covid. Kids will get sick. We will fill pediatric ICUs. This is basic arithmetic, which we want children to learn, which they can’t do if they’re stuck on ventilators.

Must-Have Back-to-School Item: Vaccines

Until we have a pediatric vaccine, our kids are learning in a Covid petri dish. At this point, whatevs, because they need to be back in school. But we can mitigate their risk, which very few seem interested in doing. Covid cases are surging like a motherfucker. ICUs are bursting with patients. And we’re walking into back-to-school season like Alice traipsing after a bunny rabbit. Wake up, people.

Mask your kids. Demand distancing. Scream for ventilation. Don’t think your wittle baby will only be asymptomatic. Newsflash: people who are asymptomatic still spread the virus. The virus kills people. Therefore, asymptomatic people can kill other people. This is like, SAT analogy stuff? Which our kids can’t learn if they’re freaking about contracting COVID-19, like 66% of children.

We can only hang on until Noah and Emma can be vaccinated. Even then, with Delta on the loose, they should still be masking indoors, like the CDC recommends. Don’t fool yourselves. This will be a rough return to school without full vaccinations, and it will cause Surge Noah. So wash your hands. Teach your kids to wash their hands for as long as it takes to recite Dune‘s Benne Gesserit Litany Against Fear or sing one verse of “My Sharona.” Buy them sparkle unicorn masks. Get vaccinated. When the pediatric vaccine is available, get your kids vaccinated.

But don’t fool yourself. Having kids back in school will be hard: on you, on them, and on the ‘Muricans who believe in Moderna’s magical magnetic microchips.

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