Contrary to the usual media hype, the worst politicalization of the Covid-19 pandemic is coming from the political left. It far outstrips President Donald Trump's own efforts to make political hay from the contagion.
It's a cynical attempt to conscript your school-age kids into a Children's Crusade against Trump by extending their isolation at home or forcing them into cockamamie partial openings that miserably fail their needs.
The benefits of returning to school in the fall semester are manifest. Parents don't need science to know that keeping their children home for more months on end is lunacy. But the science also supports what's self-evident:
Children are better off in school. Being shut in at home is damaging--mentally, physically, socially and psychologically. Study-at-home schemes have generally been a flop. The risk of children catching or transmitting the unique coronavirus is low.
The child lockdown has a raft of other negative consequences for parents who have to deal with impossible schedule-making and being driven out of their minds.
As the New York Times reports, Research Shows Students Falling Months Behind During Virus Disruptions:
New research suggests that by September, most students will have fallen behind where they would have been if they had stayed in classrooms, with some losing the equivalent of a full school year’s worth of academic gains. Racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps will most likely widen because of disparities in access to computers, home internet connections and direct instruction from teachers.
And the crisis is far from over. The harm to students could grow if schools continue to teach fully or partly online in the fall, or if they reopen with significant budget cuts because of the economic downturn. High school dropout rates could increase, researchers say, while younger children could miss out on foundational concepts in phonics and fractions that prepare them for a lifetime of learning and working.
Parents are legitimately and genuinely worried about exposing their children to coronavirus by sending them back to school. Unfortunately, that worry is fed by the politically motivated, ignorant and self-serving partisans who want to keep kids out of school because it will serve their deep hatred of Trump.
The result is schools and parents wandering in the wilderness of uncertainty. Parents not knowing what the hell to do as the fall semester approaches.
And then there are the left-leaning school administrators who concoct goofy "re-opening" schedules that only make things worse. I have in mind Fairfax County (Virginia) schools that my grandchildren attend. Parents there have two options: full-time virtual instruction or t two days of limited in-school learning each week.
It's really no choice because parents who want a return to full-time in-school learning will have an on-off schedule of mostly at-home "learning." Because of negative push-back and great uncertainty, the school board has decided that it will "open" the schools later, on Sept. 8 instead of Aug. 25. Of course, the left-wing teachers union strenuously objected to any in-school teaching at all.
The left acts like this is a political game, a way to attack Trump for supposedly not caring about the welfare of children and teachers. Some have even ridiculously declared that Trump is motivated by a hardhearted campaign against "snowflakes" who just need to tough it out.
The science is on the side of proponents of sending children back to school. The anti-science left has turned a legitimate public policy issue into a get-Trump campaign. It is unconscionable.