The mainstream media and pro-lockdown “experts” shamed Florida when the state started pulling back on its COVID-19 restrictions, most notably when it ordered school districts to return to in-person instruction no later than Aug. 31.
A month later, the much-ballyhooed decision has not led to the predicted surge in novel coronavirus infections. In fact, infections traced back to children kept declining even as more than half of Florida families sent their children back to school, according to a USA Today investigation:
As weeks ticked by and a surge of school-linked cases did not materialize, requests to return remote learners to the classroom have surged in some places.
In Martin County, along the Atlantic Coast, the school district logged more than 160 such requests. That’s nearly four times as many as those asking to switch from in-person to remote. …
The Health Department in Martin County has seen little evidence of in-classroom transmission within the school district, spokesperson Renay Rouse said. Transmission is linked to students’ out-of-school or social activities.
COVID-19 cases “are leveling off, and the trends are going in the right direction, (and) the preventive measures adopted by the school district community have been an essential part in stopping the spread of the virus,” Rouse said.
The numbers for Duval County, which includes Jacksonville, fell by half in the month after K-12 students came back, and those numbers have “remained consistently lower than those of college-age young adults since the start of fall semester,” USA Today says. It only had 94 cases on Friday – in a district of about 111,000 students.
Infection rates from schools offering in-person instruction – daily or hybrid – are remarkably low, according to a nationwide survey of 351 schools by Brown University and the American Association of School Superintendents. Only 0.08 percent of students and 0.14 of staff had “a confirmed coronavirus infection.”
Much of the USA Today report is intended to scaremonger, however. It hyped a Florida report that found 559 COVID-19 cases stemming from elementary, middle and high schools for two weeks in August. (Florida has 2.9 million children just in public schools.)
The media organization cited “health experts” as crediting “rigorous mask wearing, social distancing, isolating contacts and quick contact tracing” for the lower numbers, but it only named three individuals – none of whom specifically mentioned those practices.
For example, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health, Nathaniel Beers, simply referred to “control measures” used by “many” schools that successfully reopened.
The report does not even mention that the evidence thus far suggests schoolchildren are not a meaningful vector for COVID-19 transmission, especially compared to flu transmission.
IMAGE: David Carillet/Shutterstock