Politikere i USA spiller hasard med børns liv

Klasseværelset er blevet en politisk covid-19-kampplads.

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Politicians in the United States are gambling with the lives of children

The classroom has become a politically covid-19 battleground.

“Excited, nervous, ready!” – my daughter replied when I asked her how she felt. 540 days have passed since she last set foot in her school.

“Excited to come back and see my friends, nervous because I do not know how it will be, and ready to go to school again,” she elaborated as we were on the way to school while listening to the well-oiled K-pop, she thought would get her off in the right mood.

The schools my kids are going back to are significantly different than the ones they left. Masks are required, social distancing is enforced, there are allocated time slots to wash their hands and they are seated in designated places in the lunch room to make contact tracking possible when we get the first back to school corona infection outbreaks.

These measures are not in place in all public schools in America.

The state of Florida was the first to warn that they would withhold financial funds if the public schools required the children to wear masks. Since then, the states of Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah have come up with similar threats.

Need I say these states have a Republican governor? US President Joe Biden has committed to spend federal funds to pay if the governors make do of their threats.

A new low has been reached in the eternal political boxing arena. In this one, they seem to be willing to let children and their families pay the price.

Here in the United States, not all students have their first day of school on the same date. From the schools that have been going on for a few weeks, we know that there have been outbreaks and mass infections. In a classroom with kindergarten students, a teacher took off her mask as she read aloud to the class, while her students sat in a semicircle in front of her. The entire first row was infected with covid-19, even though they all wore masks. This age group has not yet been approved to receive the vaccine. Is it not the responsibility of adults to protect them and their families?

4.8 million children have tested positive in the United States, more than 200,000 alone last week. More than 2,000 children have been admitted to hospitals with covid-19, and many children have also infected their family members.

Quick tests are not widespread here in the US, as they are in Denmark, England and elsewhere in Europe. That is why the consequence of an outbreak becomes so much more serious for the schools here in the USA, because the infection can spread violently before it is discovered – a somewhat different situation than is the case in the Danish classrooms.

My daughter is in 8th grade. At her middle school, grades go from 6th to 8th, and the school has 1,000 students. Every day she has seven periods, and the school day is divided in such a way that after each period she collects her things and goes to her next classroom where a bunch of new students are waiting.

This means that on average in one day, not including her hallway walks to and from her classrooms, and those she is in contact with during her lunch break, she is in contact with at least 210 students daily, since there are at least 30 students in each class. You do not need a big calculator to see where that disaster train is headed.

I anticipate that in a few weeks we will receive an email stating that one of our children has been in close contact with a student who has tested positive. Then I think we will see a school system trying to juggle home and classroom teaching. The result is that not only my children but American children in general are given an unpredictable course of education that has consequences both mentally and academically.

The choice to send our children back to school has not been easy. It has been between whether we should keep them at home and find online education so that they do not become infected, or whether we should send them to school so that they can have a normal everyday life, knowing that they will be infected at some point.

How can schools be safe and secure places for children? Masks and vaccination are the answer. The delta variant is incredibly contagious, much more contagious than previous variants. However, we do not see the same increase in outbreaks where the vaccination rate is high and there is a requirement to wear masks.

Unfortunately, politicians are busy using schools as a venue for a ridiculous discussion that is completely out of proportion with the general advice from health professional expertise. In the fight to get media attention instead of thinking about the children, republican politicians have found a new low. American children will pay a high price for this.

(mostly Google Translate)

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