WATCH: Experts On Public Health Spout Criticism Over School Closures

This past Sunday, Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, made an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” alongside anchor Mike Emanuel in order to talk about various issues in relation to COVID-19.

As part of the appearance, Emanuel made note of the fact that hundreds of schools are closing once again due to rises in the number of coronavirus cases. He questions Jha about if the United States is “headed for full-scale remote learning,” and what side of the matter does he think is the correct one.

In reply, Jha stated that the ordeal “is really unfortunate.”

“…here we are almost two years into the pandemic. We know how to keep schools open. We know how to keep them safe,” stated Jha. “This really shouldn’t even be on the table, and I’m disappointed to see this is happening.”

Jha went on to state that being in school is the best option for most children, in regards to both their education and mental health. “And I think we can keep schools open, and we should absolutely keep schools open.”

“What about the other health concerns of shutting down schools in terms of school-age children such as mental, emotional, physical and social health?” Questioned Emanuel.

“Absolutely. This is why I, and I think many of us, have said schools should be absolutely the last place to close and the first place to open,” Jha stated, stating that the staffing shortages at the schools could end up causing the closures of some schools.

As seen in data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  as of the 22nd of December, almost 700 people between the ages of 0-17 have died with COVID-19 since the inception of the pandemic. This number accounts for roughly 0.08% of all covid related deaths within the entirety of the United States.

The COVID-19 vaccine tracker, from Bloomberg, stated that as of this past Sunday, about 62% of Americans are now fully vaccinated against the disease, with almost 20% having taken steps to get their booster shots.

Transcript:

EMANUEL: The CDC is promoting its strategy, Test-to-Stay. Still more than 800 schools across the U.S. unexpectedly closed this week, according to Burbio, with more than 500 schools closed in the first week of January.

Dr. Jha, are we headed for full-scale remote learning? And as a public health matter, who is right in this debate, close versus stay open?

JHA: Yeah, this is really unfortunate, Mike. You know, here we are almost two years into the pandemic. We know how to keep schools open. We know how to keep them safe. This really shouldn’t even be on the table, and I’m disappointed to see this is happening.

We know that for kids, being in school is the right thing for them, for their mental health, for their education, and we have all sorts of tools to keep schools open. So, I don’t really understand why school districts are doing this. And I think we can keep schools open, and we should absolutely keep schools open.

EMANUEL: What about the other health concerns of shutting down schools in terms of school-age children such as mental, emotional, physical and social health?

JHA: Absolutely. This is why I, and I think many of us, have said schools should be absolutely the last place to close and the first place to open. There could be times when you have such severe staffing shortages that it may be hard to keep schools going. That really should be the only context I think at this point. Otherwise, schools should absolutely be open for the reasons you outline.

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